Forever Struggle: Activism, Identity, and Survival in Boston's Chinatown, 1880–2018 (Paperback)

Forever Struggle: Activism, Identity, and Survival in Boston's Chinatown, 1880–2018 By Michael Liu Cover Image

Forever Struggle: Activism, Identity, and Survival in Boston's Chinatown, 1880–2018 (Paperback)


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Chinatown has a long history in Boston. Though little documented, it represents the city's most sustained neighborhood effort to survive during eras of hostility and urban transformation. It has been wounded and transformed, slowly ceding ground; at the same time, its residents and organizations have gained a more prominent voice over their community's fate.

In writing about Boston Chinatown's long history, Michael Liu, a lifelong activist and scholar of the community, charts its journey and efforts for survival—from its emergence during a time of immigration and deep xenophobia to the highway construction and urban renewal projects that threatened the neighborhood after World War II to its more recent efforts to keep commercial developers at bay. At the ground level, Liu depicts its people, organizations, internal battles, and varied and complex strategies against land-taking by outside institutions and public authorities. The documented courage, resilience, and ingenuity of this low-income immigrant neighborhood of color have earned it a place amongst our urban narratives. Chinatown has much to teach us about neighborhood agency, the power of organizing, and the prospects of such neighborhoods in rapidly growing and changing cities.
MICHAEL LIU is coauthor of The Snake Dance of Asian American Activism: Community, Vision, and Power and former senior research associate at the Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Product Details ISBN: 9781625345462
ISBN-10: 1625345461
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
Publication Date: December 18th, 2020
Pages: 224
Language: English
"Forever Struggle is an accessibly written and broad political, social, and economic history of Boston's Chinatown. Liu has uncovered the fascinating and previously overlooked story of one of Boston's most vital ethnic communities."—Anthony Bak Buccitelli, author of City of Neighborhoods: Memory, Folklore, and Ethnic Place in Boston

"Forever Struggle describes opportunities for and challenges to building cross-racial alliances that address shared concerns regarding police brutality, environmental racism, bureaucratic, real estate–driven city planning, and exclusion from local policy decision-making. This is the most important contribution of this book . . . most Chinatown studies tend to emphasize these communities''enclave' qualities, reinforcing the sense of insularity, self-sufficiency, and clannishness."—Tarry Hum, author of Making a Global Immigrant Neighborhood: Brooklyn's Sunset Park

"In his accessible and illuminating new book, Forever Struggle: Activism, Identity, and Survival in Boston's Chinatown, 1880–2018, Michael Liu tracks the transformation of this low-income, immigrant neighborhood's relationship to Boston. The book gives a rich and thorough history of this cross-section of the city, and details a neighborhood that's long been 'under tremendous pressure.'"—Boston Globe

"Forever Struggle succeeds in contributing to the public debate on local governance, urban planning, and the impact of urban renewal policies as well as the various development pressures that threaten the survival of well-established ethnic enclaves."—Journal of Urban Affairs