By: FRANCES KAI-HWA WANG
The University of Southern California (USC) has launched a new effort to collect and preserve local and national Taiwanese-American history in the form of a Taiwanese American Digital Archive at the USC Libraries.
“From a community perspective, this is an important project because many of
our first generation immigrants who came to the US as early as the 1950s, and in larger numbers post-1965, are in their 70s or 80s,” Ho Chie Tsai, founder of nonprofit TaiwaneseAmerican.org, told NBC News in an email. “During the martial-law era of Taiwan, their history and stories had been suppressed by the Nationalist government. And even after martial law was lifted in 1987, for so long, many more were even afraid to share their stories for fear of what might happen to them. It was this fear and anger, yet their hope for a better Taiwan, that many of my parents’ generation worked hard, here in the US, to create networks and communities that embraced their unique Taiwanese identity.”
Initial research of existing collections by USC subject resident archivist Joanna Chen Cham, who could not comment on the project by publish date, suggests that few Taiwanese-American records have been collected and other community collections have been overlooked, according to USC. The project plans to collect, digitize, and return most of the original source material back to the families that provide them. Cham, a second-generation Taiwanese American, is leading the effort under the direction of USC East Asian Library head Kenneth Klein. [FULL STORY]