Celebrating Chinese American’s contribution to the Golden Spike Railroad

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) The 150th Golden Spike railroad anniversary is approaching and it wouldn’t have been possible without the contribution of Chinese railroad workers.

Michael Kwan and Margaret Yee from the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association joined ABC4 at 4 p.m. to talk about how they’re working to make sure their ancestors are recognized. 

While enjoying today’s economic prosperity and convenient transportation, few people know that there were more than 20,000 foreign workers from different continents and cultures that contributed to the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad nearly 150 years ago. Among them, historians estimate that as many as 15,000 Chinese worked on constructing the railroad during construction. 

Chinese railroad workers risked their lives to accomplish a tremendous feat. Yet, their story has largely been ignored in our history books and our classrooms. The 2019 Golden Spike Conference will tell that story.

The conference is bringing many of the world’s leading experts to share what we know about the Chinese who lived, worked and sometimes, died while working on the Central Pacific Railroad and what happened to them after the railroad’s completion.

This grand achievement changed the world and was only accomplished because of immigrant labor.
Learning about the sacrifices made will help us understand and overcome our 21st Century challenges. 

The event is May 8-11, 2019, at the Salt Lake Marriott Downtown City Creek hotel. For more information, visit www.goldenspike150.org.

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