Asians in Minnesota Oral History Project: Interview with Joyce Yu
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Description BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Joyce Yu was born in 1946 in Washington, D.C., where her father was employed as a Chinese area specialist by the U.S. Department of Agriculture during World War II. Her parents, Robert and Victoria Yu, arrived in the United States from China in about 1939. They lived in southeast Minneapolis from the time of their arrival until 1941, while Robert Yu was a graduate student in agricultural economics at the University of Minnesota. Two sons, Robert and Victor, were born to the family during this period. The elder Yu completed his degree in 1941, but the family could not return to China because of war conditions in the Pacific, and they moved to Washington. In 1947, after Joyce's birth and the war's end, the family returned to China, where Robert Yu accepted a job as vice-president of the Farmers' Bank of China in Shanghai. Postwar conditions in China grew increasingly unstable, however, and the family returned to the United States in 1949, when Joyce was two and a half years old. The Yus settled in southeast Minneapolis again, and Joyce spent most of her childhood and youth in this neighborhood. She attended University High School and the University of Minnesota, from which she received a bachelor of arts degree in sociology in 1968. After graduation she was employed by the university's Office of Student Affairs from 1968 to 1973, and she also completed a year of graduate study in educational psychology. From 1973 to 1975 she worked for VISTA on the West Bank in Minneapolis. In the fall of 1975 she went to Taiwan for a year of study in Chinese language and tai chi (martial arts). Upon her return to the United States, Yu worked as student internship coordinator at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and in August of 1977 she took a job with the Otto Bremer Foundation in St. Paul, working as a program officer, reviewing and evaluating grant proposals. In 1979 she left the Bremer Foundation to become the director of the Women's Funding Assistance Project for the Ms. Foundation, and in 1981 she was appointed executive director of the Ms. Foundation. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Family background; class and regional differences within the Chinese community in Minnesota; family structure and child rearing in the state's Chinese settlement; and the developing ethnic consciousness of young Asian Americans at the University of Minnesota during the 1960s. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: This interview provides valuable information on the northern intellectuals (Mandarin speakers) in the Chinese community in Minnesota, the subgroup in which Yu grew up. It also provides insight into the experience of Chinese families who have settled in the state since World War II, and of Asian students at the University of Minnesota in the 1960s.
Quantity 3 hours sound cassette
87 pages transcript
Format Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
Measurements 02:12:54 running time
Creation Interviewee: Yu, Joyce
Interviewer: Mason, Sarah R.
Made in Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, United States
Subjects Asian Americans -- Minnesota
Chinese Americans -- Minnesota.
Made in Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, United States
Dates Creation: 06/04/1979
Holding Type Oral History - Interview
Identifiers OH 51
Accession Number AV1981.361.14
More Info MHS Library Catalog
Related Collections Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Asians in Minnesota Oral History Project'

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