Oral histories are intimate conversations between and among people who have generously agreed to share these recordings with BHS’s archives and researchers. Please listen in the spirit with which these were shared. BHS abides by the General Principles & Best Practices for Oral History as agreed upon by the Oral History Association and expects that use of this material will be done with respect for these professional ethics.
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The audio recording should be considered the primary source for each interview. Where provided, transcripts created prior to 2008 or commissioned by a third party other than BHS, serve as a guide to the interview and are not considered verbatim. More recent transcripts commissioned by BHS are nearly verbatim copies of the recorded interview, and as such may contain the natural false starts, verbal stumbles, misspeaks, and repetitions that are common in conversation. The decision for their inclusion was made because BHS gives primacy to the audible voice and also because some researchers do find useful information in these verbal patterns. Unless these verbal patterns are germane to your scholarly work, when quoting from this material researchers are encouraged to correct the grammar and make other modifications maintaining the flavor of the narrator’s speech while editing the material for the standards of print.
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[Last name, First name], Oral history interview conducted by [Interviewer’s First name Last name], [Month DD, YYYY], [Title of Collection], [Call #]; Brooklyn Historical Society.
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Ning-Yuan Li and Anonymous
Oral history interview conducted by Gregory Ruf
July 02, 1993
Call number: 1994.007.21
1:26 - LY: 出生地，父母及老师的影响，对比中西方艺术 Birthplace, influences from parents and teachers, comparing Chinese and western art
43:08 - JL: 生活习惯，发生在南美的故事（巴拉圭，巴西，智利，秘鲁） Living habits, life stories in South America ( Paraguay, Brazil, Chile, Peru)
70:02 - JL: 美国社会治安问题，被抢劫和欺骗的经历 Public safety issues in the U.S., experience of being robbed and cheated in NYC
113:13 - JL & JT: 如何教育青少年罪犯，美国教育，中国学生军训 How to educate juvenile criminals, American education, student military training in China
Oral History Interview with Ning-Yuan Li and Anonymous
Ning-Yuan Li was born in 1936 in Nanjing, China to an educated family, and as a teenager became an award-winning fine arts painter. At the time of the interview, he had been in America for four years and had a school-aged daughter. J.L. (Anonymous) was born in Burma, but soon moved to Taiwan. During the "Anti-Japan War," J.L. was orphaned and subsequently joined the fight against the Japanese invasion. Later, he moved to Paraguay and Brazil, where he started a small wrist-watch business. He immigrated to America in 1984. At the time of the interview, he had a daughter in kindergarten. J.T. (Anonymous) also provides narration. Her own full-length oral history (1994.007.03) is available as part of this collection.
In this interview, J.L. (Anonymous) and Ning-Yuan Li provide viewpoints on their different lives that led them to America. Li, fine art painter, describes his early education and sensibilities as an artist and recalls the Chinese Cultural Revolution's impact on fine art in China. J.L., from Taiwan, relates his life story; the era of the "Anti-Japan War," his career as a soldier, and time spent in Paraguay running a small wrist-watch business. Joined by J.T. (Anonymous, also a narrator of her own oral history), J.L. and Li discuss their shared experience as residents of Brooklyn's Chinatown; working conditions for Chinese immigrants, language barriers, armed robberies, and the American systems of education and juvenile corrections. Interview in Mandarin conducted by Gregory Ruf.
Brooklyn Historical Society collaborated with the Chinatown History Museum (now the Museum of Chinese in America) in order to conduct a series of oral histories with residents of the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. The Cantonese, Mandarin, and English language interviews focused on what was then a new presence of Chinese and Asian immigrants concentrated along Eighth Avenue. Among the topics that are explored in the interviews are tensions between different groups of Chinese immigrants, crime and safety in the neighborhood, Sunset Park's relationship to Manhattan's Chinatown, and how long-term residents of Sunset Park had adjusted to the area's "newcomers."
CitationLi, Ning-Yuan and Anonymous, Oral history interview conducted by Gregory Ruf, July 02, 1993, New Neighbors: Sunset Park's Chinese Community records, 1994.007.21; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- Li, Ning-Yuan
- Mao, Zedong, 1893-1976
- Anti-Japanese War, 1937-1945
- Chinese Americans
- Emigration and immigration
- Law enforcement
- Political corruption
- Public welfare
- Taiwanese Americans
- Work environment
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
- Central America
- Chinatown (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
- South America
- Taiwan (China)
Finding AidNew Neighbors: Sunset Park's Chinese Community records