Ooligan Press

Dreams of the West By Portland State University & Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association


The History of the Chinese in Oregon, 1850–1950

Who were the pioneers of the American West? Some of them we already know: European Americans who traveled across North America on horseback, in covered wagons or on foot, or sailed from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Lesser known are the immigrants who, by the 1850s, began sailing east from Southern China, primarily from the Guangdong Province. They arrived in the western American port towns in California, Oregon, and Washington. These Chinese immigrants, fleeing the hardships of their homeland, sought the same prosperity as all immigrants to America. While some Chinese immigrants found riches in Oregon’s high deserts, gold-mined mountains, coastal fisheries, and bustling Portland metropolis, many faced extreme racism, legal discrimination, and exploitation. Jointly created by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA), Portland State University Capstone students, and students at Ooligan Press, this book fills a long-neglected gap in the history of the West Coast. This distinctive account of Chinese immigration is detailed in a well-researched text and a wonderful collection of photos, many from private collections not previously seen by the public. Dreams of the West: A History of the Chinese in Oregon, 1850–1950 presents stories about the brave men and women who made America their home and kept China in their hearts.


The Oregonian
PubWest Design Award

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  • Available in: 8.5″ x 11″, softcover | 112 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-93201013-8
  • Published: June 1, 2007

For Teachers

Encourage your students to celebrate the culture and history of the Chinese in Oregon with Dreams of the West. This unique book provides a colorful history of the immigrants who, starting in 1850, began sailing east from Southern China to flee the hardships of their homeland. While a number of Chinese people prospered in Oregon’s gold mines and fisheries, others encountered discrimination, violence, and segregation. Through vivid photographs and detailed text, Dreams of the West recounts the stories of the Chinese immigrants who would ultimately make an impact on the culture and economy of the West Coast.

Dreams of the West is the culmination of collected efforts between Portland State University students and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. Written by students for students, Dreams of the West provides an engaging educational tool for sharing the history of the Chinese men and women who made Oregon their home.

Grades: 10–12, College

Topics: Asian Studies, Immigration, Chinese Culture, Oregon History, Discrimination