Yosemite National Park has a new attraction, an exhibit honoring and exploring the lives and history of the Chinese immigrant workers who built many of the early roads and buildings of the park.
The exhibit, in the Chinese Laundry Building at the park's historic Wawona Hotel, is the first of a number of structures that will make up the Yosemite History Center, telling the story of the park and the different groups of workers who helped build it.
Ironically, the Chinese workers who built the 56-mile Tioga Road in 130 days in 1882 were no longer welcome in the country by the time they finished with that, the Wawona Road and other facilities in 1883, the year Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act prohibiting any further immigration from China.
Eugene Moy of the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California told the Fresno Bee how much the new exhibit means: “Something like this really resonates with a lot of people in my generation. We’ve been here since the 1870s, so to be able to see this has deep meaning, because a lot of us, oftentimes, are relegated to the margins. We aren’t always perceived as being full-fledged Americans when the reality is that people have been here for three, four, five generations, for 150 years.”