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Asians in Minnesota Oral History Project: Interview with Vy Pham
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Vy Pham was born in 1932 in a small town called Sept Pagodes, near Hanoi, North Vietnam. His father was an elected mayor of the town, named for its seven pagodas. He attended elementary school in Sept Pagodes but went to Bac Ninh, a larger city, for high school. He joined the anti-French resistance in the post-World War II period, but after the country was divided in 1954 he fled to South Vietnam with thousands of other Catholics in fear of religious and political persecution. He arrived in South Vietnam with his wife and child in 1955 and began to work on the French-owned rubber plantations. He became one of the early labor union organizers on the plantations and later was nationally and internationally known in labor circles. For five years he served as Vietnamese delegate to the International Labor Organization's annual conferences in Geneva, Switzerland, and visited the United States several times to meet with AFL-CIO leaders. He also served as economic and social adviser to the South Vietnamese government under both Diem and Thieu. When the South Vietnamese government collapsed in April of 1975, Vy and his family escaped the country with other labor leaders aboard a barge carrying about one thousand people. They were picked up by the United States Seventh Fleet and take to Guam, where they were visited by AFL-CIO leaders from the United States. Later they were sent to a refugee camp at Fort Chafee, Arkansas, to await resettlement. Vy and his family chose to settle in Minnesota, where he had a friend, and arrived in the state in October of 1975. Since then he has worked as an interpreter for Indochinese refugees at the Hennepin County Community Services Department and has also been called up to mediate strikes involving Indochinese refugees in California and Louisiana. Vy and his wife have nine children ranging in age from six to twenty-four years. Three are students at the University of Minnesota, one is at Augsburg College, three are in high school, and two are in elementary school. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Vy discusses the long struggle of the Vietnamese for independence; the organization of the labor movement; the differences between the Vietnamese and American labor movements; Vietnamese family life; and his impressions of Minnesota. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: Vy Pham provides valuable information on the labor movement in Vietnam and its ties to the international labor movement. He also provides insights into the refugee experience.
1.5 hours sound cassette
52 pages transcript
Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
01:28:59 running time
Interviewee: Pham, Vy
Interviewer: Mason, Sarah R.
Made in: Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States
Asian Americans -- Minnesota
Vietnamese Americans -- Minnesota.
|Holding Type||Oral History - Interview|
OH 51 (Library Call Number)
AV1981.361.18 (Accession Number)
MNHS Library Catalog
Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Asians in Minnesota Oral History Project'