The Lucky Ones uncovers the story of the Tape family in post-gold rush, racially explosive San Francisco. Mae Ngai paints a fascinating picture of how the role of immigration broker allowed patriarch Jeu Dip (Joseph Tape) to both protest and profit from discrimination, and of the Tapes as the first of a new social type--middle-class Chinese Americans.
Tape family history illuminates American history. Seven-year-old Mamie attempts to integrate California schools, resulting in the landmark 1885 case Tape v. Hurley. The family's intimate involvement in the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair reveals how Chinese American brokers essentially invented Chinatown, and so Chinese culture, for American audiences. Finally, The Lucky Ones reveals aspects--timely, haunting, and hopeful--of the lasting legacy of the immigrant experience for all Americans.
This expanded edition features a new preface and a selection of historical documents from the Chinese exclusion era that forms the backdrop to the Tape family's story.