Stanford Report A century and a half after Chinese migrants toiled on the Transcontinental Railroad, an interdisciplinary team of Stanford professors is shedding light on a key chapter of the intertwined relationship between China and the United States. By Cuauhtémoc García-García
'Built in the mid-1800s, the Transcontinental Railroad was among the
most ambitious enterprises of American engineering – as well as an
important source of Leland Stanford's wealth. Well over 10,000 Chinese
laborers performed the grueling and dangerous work of tunneling through
the granite of the Sierra Nevada. They were paid less than fellow
Caucasian workers, and had fewer legal rights.
'Scholars have long known that the Chinese were integral to the
construction process, but they knew relatively little about who these
workers were, where they came from, what they experienced and what they
did after the railroad was completed.
'Over the past three years a team of Stanford professors has been working to change that through the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project.'