Here's a link to a folksong and some images of the Chinese in the history of the railroad:
If I were teaching fourth grade, I would include this as part of the story of immigration in California or as part of the building of the railroad.
It is performed by a California folk band called The Black Irish Band. I looked and looked for the lyrics online, but they don't seem to be there.
BTW, it's worth it for fourth grade teachers to download their entire album "California Story". IMHO the singing and lyrics are a tad amateurish, but I think children would enjoy it and teachers would find valuable its ballad of John Muir, the tale of the last California grizzly bear (shot in 1922)--but have a box of tissues on hand, another tale of the building of the railroad but from an Irish view, plus a very John Denver-like song about the Sierra, and more.
I played it a half dozen times and typed away at the lyrics. Attached are the lyrics to the Black Irish Band song "Men of Iron (The Chinese on the C.P.R.R.)" --print a copy for each student, play the song, and sing along!
Thanks so much for this! It's a great way to introduce this idea. Have you seen the book Chinese Americans: the immigrant experience ? It's very well done and has many provocative photographs and primary documents.
The website below discusses the Chinese as immigrants in California, working the railroads to survive.
I think this could be very helpful in teaching about California's history and at the same time, pay homage to the Chinese who gave so much of themselves to California.
Interesting article. The chinese were seen in a very positive light by their employers. Interesting that they were considered automatic hires by the railroad entrepreneurs/
Ambassador Walter Mondale walked out of a speech seen as a scathing nasty attack on the American form of democracy...the comments included words such as...." Democracies are only beginning to learn that too much freedom is dangerous.....David Koresh and the Jones cult were products of the Western form of democracy.....as where the bombings in Oklahomas (Federal Building) .....For Asians, the community, the majority comes first. ... individuals and the minority must conform to the mores of society.....unrestratined exhibition of personal freedom which disturbs the peace or threatens to undermine society is not what Asians expect from democracy.... " From the Confucius Lives Next Door
Excellent suggestions for fourth grade social studies. I think music and song is very strong way to tap into multiple intelligences and diversify instruction. Thanks for including the You Tube video as a resource.
The chinese built the pacific railroads going east and they received miserable low wages and many were killed due to the dynamiting necessary to make tunnels and cut through mountains. It is a sad part of out history.
This is such a cool resource! I'm going to pass this along to my fourth grade co-workers as I know they cover California history and Chinese immigrants were such a big part of the state's history.
Thx for sharing
Thanks for sharing those resources on the Chinese contribution to the Transcontinental Railroad. I found some additional resources I'd like to share. Teachinghistory.org offers helpful links with great primary sources. Two examples of this are links to the Central Pacific Railroad History Museum and The Library of Congress's American Memory Collection on the Chinese Westward Expansion.
I also found that many teachers utilize a book titled Coolies by Yin. According to scholastic.com the interest level is for grades Kinder-Second and it's written at a 3.8 grade level. Yet I found that many teachers of older students have read this book and found it to be successful. The website states that the book is inspired by actual events and that it reveals the harsh truth about the life of the Chinese railroad workers in 1865, while celebrating perseverance and bravery. I'm definitely going to check it out. If you'd like to learn more about the book, please click on the link I've attached.
Thanks so much for this!
I am passing this website on to a friend who teaches fourth grade.
Excellent suggestions thanks for this and keep it up
My introduction to the Chinese migrants involvement came from the TV series "Kung Fu" starring David Carradine. Looking back it was a somewhat accurate depiction of the treatment these workers received and the dangers they faced as well as the strong sense of cultural identity they possessed.