Heping, Guangdong: Lily Chin and Asian-Americanism (1)
Lily Yee was born in 1920 in Heping, Guangdong province. Her happy childhood was disrupted when one early morning, Lily’s parents grabbed her out of bed. The Japanese were invading and all the children in the area were to hide in the mountains. It was the start of a long and bitter period filled with the ominous sounds of Japanese fighter planes overhead and ravaging military forces on the ground.
Right after the Second World War, Lily met and married Chin Hing. Chin Hing was from her mother’s village, but had been living in America since he was 17. He had fought in the US army and now he was back in China to get married. In 1948, Lily and Chin Hing emigrated to the US, settling in Detroit. Lily’s great-grandfather had worked on the Transcontinental Railroads and in spite of his tales of racism and suffering in America, the war had traumatized Lily too much to stay in China.
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