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You might try DocsTeach, the National Archives' portal for lesson plans with primary sources. If you search "Chinese Exclusion Act" it looks like there are over 1500 individual documents that reference the Act. Some of these are affidavits from immigrants, or letters later seized as evidence from immigrants to family members. Some also include a short biography of the affidavit writer with links to other sources created by this person.
On DocsTeach, if you create a free account, you can also create lesson plans with the sources you decide to use in your classroom.
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Last year we published a really great eBook and accompanying iTunes U course all about the Chinese Exclusion Act! They were created by Apple Distinguished Educators Cheryl Davis and Mia Morrison, who did primary source research at the National Archives.
- “The Chinese Exclusion Act – Researching in the National Archives” can be downloaded from iBooks.
- Find “The Chinese Exclusion Act” from National Archives and Records Administration on iTunes U.
These resources explore stories about Chinese immigrants through primary source document analysis and reveal how the democratic rights of American-born children of Chinese immigrants were affected by Chinese Exclusion laws.
The book — available on iPad, iPhone, and Mac — weaves together primary source documents from the Immigration Service, custom houses, ports of entry, and Angel Island Immigration Station. It includes interactive features, questions for topic exploration and reflection, transcriptions for highlighting, and review activities.
And “The Chinese Exclusion Act” on iTunes U is a self-paced course that incorporates the companion book, articles, videos, and assignments.
You can read more about both at: https://education.blogs.archives.gov/2015/10/13/chinese-exclusion-act/
Lastly, the documents that we digitized for the eBook and course, plus many more that were digitized by teachers focusing on Chinese immigration during our Primarily Teaching workshop, are available on DocsTeach, the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives.
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One more specific suggestion: Check out Chapter 5 of the eBook “The Chinese Exclusion Act – Researching in the National Archives.” The primary sources included here reveal the story of Jew Yeung, one of the many individuals who left the United States and then tried to return. These cases were investigated closely by immigration officials.
Jew Yeung was a natural born citizen who left the United States in 1896 at age five with hopes of returning. When her parents and brother returned to America, she stayed in Hong Kong with her grandmother. At age 16, she tried to return. Upon arrival, immigration officials questioned the legitimacy of her identity. They interrogated her and several family members about her age, where she had come from, and other details of her life.
Students can explore the interrogation process and the rest of Jew Yeung’s story, and look for different perspectives and points of view, as they closely read and analyze the documents in this chapter.