Category Archive Past

BySusan Chinsen

Who Is American?: Chinese Exclusion, Japanese Internment, and Today

Screening, Reading and Discussion

Thursday, December 7th at 6:30pm
Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington St, Boston, MA 02108

How have politics shaped our perceptions of Americanness throughout U.S. history? And how do today’s conversations on immigration and exclusion compare with political, legal, and cultural scenarios from our past? On the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, join this dynamic conversation about the ongoing struggle to define who is American. View an excerpt of The Chinese Exclusion Act, a documentary on the United States’ first significant immigration restriction law, passed in 1882. Then hear director Benny Sato Ambush read an excerpt from the acclaimed play Hold These Truths, based on the true story of Japanese-American Gordon Hirabayashi, who resisted internment during WWII. Paul Watanabe, Director of the Institute for Asian American Studies, will remark on connections between Chinese exclusion, Japanese internment, and today’s immigration issues. A panel discussion and community conversation will conclude the event.

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This program is made possible with support from the Lowell Institute, Tufts Medical Center, and South Cove Community Health Center

Co-presented by CHSNE and Old South Meeting House with support from Lyric Stage Company of BostonInstitute for Asian American Studies at UMass BostonJapanese American Citizens League-New EnglandArtsEmerson, and Boston Asian American Film Festival

BySusan Chinsen

CHSNE’s 25th Anniversary Banquet

Friday, September 29th, 6:00-9:00pm

Hei La Moon
88 Beach Street
Boston, Massachusetts

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Please join us in celebrating:

Sojourner Awardees

The early Chinese immigrant pioneers were typically sojourners–workers looking for a piece of the Gold Mountain to take back to China to help their families. Many faced conditions of racism, exclusion and economic exploitation, even as they helped build and transform America. Our place today in this society rests, in part, on their legacy. It is in memory of their unrecognized struggles and profound contributions that CHSNE presents the Sojourner Award.

Caroline Chang

Caroline Chang grew up in Chinatown, on the historic Hudson Street. Chang dedicated her life to community causes as a founder of CHSNE and as a founding Board Member and President of the Asian Community Development Corporation. She also served as the Manager of Chinatown’s Little City Hall for the Mayor’s Office of Public Service in the 70s, and as Regional Manager for Office for Civil Rights for the US Department of Health and Human Services for over 20 years.



American Legion Boston Chinatown Post 328

The American Legion formed in 1919 to provide services to veterans, service members and communities, and has evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. Over the years, the Legion has influenced considerable social change in America, won hundreds of benefits for veterans and produced many important programs for children and youth. Post 328 members are mindful of the American Legion creed of “For God and Country” and continue to uphold its tradition for the love of duty, honor, God, country, and community.

With special presentations on:

Old Quincy School

CHSNE partnered with Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New England (CCBA) to register the first site for its connection to Chinese in Boston to the National Register of Historic Places. Over the past year, consultants wrote the nomination for CCBA’s Old Quincy School building, and an overview document about the Chinese in Boston. These two documents are now public record, allowing future researchers/generations the opportunity to know about the experience of our ancestors and community.


Chinatown Atlas

The Boston Chinatown Atlas is a collaborative project led by MIT Professor Emeritus Tunney Lee, in collaboration with CHSNE and many community members, students, and organizations. The project documents and explores Chinatown’s growth and change through time as told by personal stories, photos, maps, and interactive features on the website.


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Please consider sponsoring CHSNE’s 25th anniversary banquet or purchasing a greeting in the program book. Click here for sponsor information.

25th Anniversary Sponsors


2017 Banquet Sponsors

Gold Sponsor
John & Stephanie Fan

Silver Sponsor
Eastern Bank

Bronze Sponsors
Cambridge Savings Bank
Peter & Laura Chan
Thomas & May Chin
Karyn Wong Ching
Paul Lee
Peter Ng

Table Hosts
American Legion Boston Chinatown – Post 328
Bridgewater State University
Caroline Chang
Helen Chin Schlichte
Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New England
Selina Chow
Stephanie Fan
Gee How Oak Tin Association of New England
South Cove Manor
Suffolk University

Banquet Panning Committee
Jessica Wong Camhi
Carmen Chan
Susan Chinsen
Sherry Dong
Stephanie Fan
Christine Nguyen
Peter Tam
Nancy Wong
Yolanda Zhang

BySusan Chinsen

Education and Exclusion: A Lecture and Gallery Visit with Professor Emma Teng

Thursday, May 25, 5:15pm-7:00pm

5:15pm Refreshments & Gallery Viewing | 6:15pm Lecture

Maihaugen Gallery | Hayden Memorial Library, 160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge 02139

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The history of Chinese students at MIT dates back to 1877. From these beginnings, the Institute became one of the most popular destinations for Chinese overseas students, especially those seeking to contribute to their country’s modernization through engineering, science, and commerce. Between 1854 and 1954, MIT awarded 734 degrees to Chinese students, the third highest number of any American university. This lecture and exhibition will offer insight into local history, immigration trends, and lessons from a previous generation.

To commemorate the 135th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and in conjunction with her exhibition China Comes to Tech: 1877-1931, Professor Emma Teng will address the impact of the Exclusion laws, and the xenophobia that they represented, on students from China, using MIT as a case study.

Emma J. Teng is the T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations at MIT. She teaches courses in Chinese culture, Chinese migration history, Asian American history, East Asian culture, and women’s and gender studies.


Co-hosted by the Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE) and MIT Global Studies and Languages. With support from CHSNE’s 25th Anniversary Sponsors: Tufts Medical Center, National Park Service, and South Cove Community Health Center.



BySusan Chinsen

Author Event with Lisa See

Author Lisa See

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

Book talk, signing, & reception

Tuesday, March 28, 12:00pm-1:30pm
One Chinatown Arts Center | 99 Albany St, Boston 02111

In partnership with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC), CHSNE will present a lunchtime conversation with #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See on her new novel, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane. A powerful story about two women separated by circumstance, culture, and distance, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane is an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and a celebration of the bonds of family.

Buy tickets here!

Ticket information coming soon!

BySusan Chinsen

Facing Exclusion: Pioneering Activists Harry H. Dow and Tien Fu Wu

Facing Exclusion:

Pioneering Activists Harry H. Dow and Tien Fu Wu

A one-woman performance, adapted farce, and community conversation

Opening Night & Reception: Friday, March 17, 7:30pm-10:00pm
Matinée: Saturday, March 18, 2:00pm-4:00pm
ArtsEmerson/Paramount Center, Black Box Theatre

Part of ArtsEmerson’s Community Curators program, CHSNE will present a performance of Nutzacrackin’ Immigration and Naturalization depicting a fictional immigration interrogation during the Chinese Exclusion Act. The original script was written by Harry H. Dow, a Suffolk Law School graduate who became the first Chinese-American to pass the Massachusetts Bar exam in 1929. Christina R. Chan, a local actor, playwright, teaching artist and director, adapted the script for this performance. Chan will also present a selection from her one-woman play, Unbinding Our Lives, on the lived experience of Tien Fu Wu, a Chinese women living in San Francisco at the turn of twentieth-century—also in honor of its 25th anniversary.

Featured performers also include Eric Cheung (Yung), Tim Corbett (Chief Inspector), Alexander Holden (Dow), Sophia Koevary (Miss French), Danny Mourino (Rosen), and Josh Santora (Mulloy).

To close the program, a panel discussion and community conversation will connect this history to present day. Panelist include:

Moderator: Patricia Reeve (Suffolk)
Christina R. Chan
Ragini Shah (Suffolk Law)
Paul W. Lee (Community Leader)

Moderator: Elisa Choi (MA Asian American Commission)
Christina R. Chan
Ragini Shah (Suffolk Law)
Stephanie Fan (Community Leader)

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All ticket proceeds to benefit CHSNE—now celebrating its 25th anniversary!