During the late 19th century, the term ‘celestial’ was used as a pejorative term to insult Chinese immigrants and laborers. Ironically, while there was discrimination towards Chinese workers in the United States, American developers still depended upon the work of Chinese immigrants, particularly when it came to the building of the transcontinental railroad.
The documentary film Celestials showcases six years of collaboration with Stanford University and CHSA to explore the lives of the Chinese railroad workers who built the transcontinental railroad. The film explores three parts: the links between the Chinese workers and their homes in Kaiping, China through groundbreaking archaeological research; painting a composite portrait of workers through oral histories collected from descendants, and finally, the 150-year struggle for Chinese Americans to obtain national recognition for their contributions to American history. Join CHSA for a screening of Celestials, followed by a panel discussion with Stanford Professor of Archaeology Barbara Voss, Award-Winning Local Historian Connie Young Yu, and Director and Producer Barre Fong.
This event is hosted by the Chinese Historical Society of America in partnership with the Chinese American Museum of Chicago and the Center for Railroad Photography and Art.
Tickets are $5. Purchase here.