Writer, producer and director E. Samantha Cheng says, despite being educated in New York City’s public schools and universities, the first time she learned about the U.S. government forcing more than 100,000 Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War Two, wasn’t when she was a student, but when she was an adult.
She says it was a subject – never discussed in her U.S. history class. It was this moment when Cheng vowed to spread knowledge about Asian-American history using the power of real-life stories.
“Internment was never discussed,” explained Cheng. “It wasn’t in our history class, in our current-events class. It was very frustrating, as a journalist, to learn that this happened and no one’s talking about it.”
E. Samantha Cheng: Discovering the Mississippi Delta Chinese LegacyFilmmaker E. Samantha Cheng explores the legacy of the Chinese community in her latest documentary, “Honor and Duty: The Mississippi Delta Chinese.”
Cheng’s newest documentary, Honor and Duty: The Mississippi Delta Chinese explores the Chinese community in the Delta, beginning with the first 16 Chinese who immigrated there during the 19th century.
The film also reveals the story of 182 Chinese men, from the Delta, who served during World War Two. Their legacy, and the contribution of those who followed, continues to make an impact today.
“Things have changed now,” said Cheng. “Things are moving in a better direction, but still, people do not know the contributions of Asian Americans in the United States.”
E. Samantha Cheng sat down with Full Frame’s Mike Walter, in our Washington, D.C. studio, to talk about the legacy of Chinese Americans.
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