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Southern Fried Rice

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About the author:
I grew up in the only Chinese family in Macon, Georgia, where I was born in 1937. Our family owned and ran a laundry above which were our living quarters. We finally moved to San Francisco in the early 1950s because our parents wanted their children to live among Chinese people. I eventually earned a Ph.D. in psychology at Northwestern University and then had a 40 year career as a professor at California State University, Long Beach.
In retirement, I began to study the life experiences of Chinese immigrants like my parents who endured harsh lives and suffered racial prejudices. My memoir, "Southern Fried Rice: Life in A Chinese Laundry in the Deep South" described what our family experienced living in the South during the Jim Crow era. The interest that this book generated led me to write three other books about the Chinese American experience. "Chinese Laundries: Tickets to Survival on Gold Mountain" is a social history of the important role that these businesses that once dotted the landscape held for the economic survival of Chinese immigrants. "Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton: Lives of Mississippi Delta Chinese Grocers" examines the similar role of this family occupation for Chinese in the delta. My social history of Chinese family restaurants, "Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants"includes personal stories of children's role in helping parents run their restaurants. "A Chinese American Odyssey" is a writing memoir about the process and experience of how I, a psychology professor, reinvented myself in retirement to become a public historian of Chinese in America.

Southern Fried Rice

Life in A Chinese Laundry in the Deep South

Authored by John Jung

This memoir conveys the experiences of our family, the only Chinese in Macon, Georgia from 1928 to 1956. It describes our isolation running a laundry, enduring loneliness as well as racial prejudice, explains why we moved to San Francisco's Chinese community, and how we adjusted to new challenges and opportunities.

This edition adds an afterword describing the book's impact on readers and audiences at book talks and how it led to my writing four more books on Chinese American history.

Some Review Excerpts

"..fascinating and insightful account of Chinese-American family life...charming and information..."
Paul Rosenblatt, U. of Minnesota

"..woven with genuine scholarship...masterful bit of storytelling..."Ronald Gallimore, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, UCLA

"...a unique view of ethnic identity.. fascinating insights...what it means to be Chinese when there is no Chinese community... and the way subsequent experiences in__and out__ of a Chinese community futher shape this process."
Jean Phinney, Author, Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure. intriguing and unique perspective on American immigration. Based on his experience as a child in the only Chinese family in Macon, Georgia in the mid-20th century, Jung's story is a fascinating account of the negotiation of personal and ethnic identity in a foreign environment. His narrative highlights many of the features of the larger society, including both government policy and situational practice, that shape the lives of immigrants, both then and now."
Kay Deaux, City University of N.Y. Grad Center, Author, "To Be An Immigrant"

... delightful book opens a window providing a glimpse into the lives of one family born to Chinese immigrants in a small town in the South in the 1930s and 1940s. Being the only Chinese in town in a segregated society, their lives were certainly not mint julep and magnolias...
Sylvia Sun Minnick, Samfow, The San Joaquin Chinese Experience

Reader Comments

... It has a beautiful flow to it and an enriching quality that is easier to feel than it is to describe. Couched in humor, it deals with the painful and serious matter of day-to-day struggles of existence of a couple who came here with hardly anything more than faith in their hearts and steel in their spines. K. Saxena, Kensington, Ca

Your book is the one that I had promised myself that I would write one day, but you went ahead and wrote it. You did a wonderful job! Henry Tom, Frederick, MD.

Thank you for telling your story in such an engaging manner. ...While your story is personal it is also universal because of its working class foundation laced with layers of Chinese ethnicity, family structure and dynamics, and the specificity of the South. Flo Oy Wong, Sunnyvale, CA.

Enjoyed very much reading your family history revealing a unique experience yet sharing many of the same problems of families in Chinese laundries.
...Yours is one of the few written accounts of the many family-run laundries in the U. S. Thank you for the careful documentation of this history, which would be otherwise forgotten. Tunney Lee, Boston, Mass.

... gave me insight into the lives of Chinese in the South, especially those living where there were no other Chinese... Your move to San Francisco must have been as much of a cultural shock for you as it was for me, an African American moving to the Bay Area from Memphis. Leatha Ruppert, Cotati, CA.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I learned much that will hopefully give me some leads in searching for information on my paternal grandfather... your book has allowed me to gain some insight into what his life might have been life, what he might have experienced as the only Chinese in St. Augustine, FL. C. M.

"Riveting - couldn't put the book down until it was finished - it mirrored many of my own childhood experiences growing up in New Zealand in the 50s. The Chinese immigrant experience must have been the same the world over." Helen Wong, Auckland, New Zealand

Publication Date:
1466218924 / 9781466218925
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs

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