The Walnut Creek Library Foundation’s “Live! From the Library” series welcomes John McCormick at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, as he presents, “Chinese in Napa Valley: The Forgotten Community That Built Wine Country.”
“Chinese laborers were once the backbone of Napa Valley,” the library foundation said in a statement. “Throughout the late 1800s, they were the major labor force in the vineyards, quicksilver mines, hop farms, leather tanneries and laundries and carved out neighborhoods in towns throughout the Valley.
“These contributions did little to deter discrimination, and anti-Chinese leagues sprang up to harass and intimidate immigrants like Chan Wah Jack, who ran the successful Sang Lung store in Napa’s Chinatown.”
The foundation said the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act hastened the decline of local Chinatowns, and these once vibrant communities disappeared, while the industries they helped to foster flourished. Their story has been virtually lost over the years.
Author John McCormick will discuss the forgotten contributions of the Chinese people in California’s most famous wine region.
McCormick grew up in Napa and is descended from five generations of Napa Valley residents. He received his bachelor’s in engineering from the University of California-Berkeley and his master’s in history from Harvard University. After a career in technology in Silicon Valley, he and his wife now own a small business in Lafayette.
Organizers encourage masks for people 2 and older. The event takes place in the Walnut Creek Library’s Oak View Room from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Registration is required.