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Asians in Minnesota Oral History Project: Interview with Joe Huie
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Joe Huie was born in about 1892 in a rural village in the Taishan District of Guangdong Province in southern China. He immigrated to the United States at age 17, arriving in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1909. Through a friend from his village who had arrived earlier, Huie got a job as dishwasher in a Chinese-owned restaurant, the St. Paul Cafe, where he later worked as cook and manager and eventually became part owner. In 1915 he returned to China for a visit to his family and village. Upon his return to Duluth in 1917 he was drafted into the armed services but discharged almost immediately because of his lack of knowledge of the English language. In about 1920 he got a job at the Chinese-owned Arrowhead Cafe and worked there for more than a decade, sending remittances to Taishan for the support of his family and saving money for a future business of his own in China. In 1933 he returned to China and established a small business in Taishan. He remained there with his family until 1937, when the Japanese invasion of China threatened his business and he decided to return to Duluth. After World War II Huie again went to China and established a business in the provincial capital of Guangzhou (Canton). With the Communist victory in China in 1948, Huie realized that private businesses were in jeopardy and returned to Duluth with two sons. In 1951 they established the Joe Huie Cafe, which became a landmark in the city, attracting patrons from every walk of life. Huie operated his restaurant for 22 years before retiring in 1973 at the age of about 81. Because of restrictive American immigration laws and Chinese tradition, Huie's family remained in China during most of his years in Duluth before World War II. Although he brought two sons to Duluth in 1949, after liberalization of U.S. immigration law in 1943, it was not until 1954 that his wife and two youngest children arrived in the United States. His youngest child was born in Duluth after the family had been reunited. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Joe Huie's early life in China; his struggle to survive as a young immigrant in Duluth; his many inventions; and his interest in healing and folk medicines. Huie also provides information on the early Chinese community in Duluth. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: Joe Huie is one of the few early twentieth-century Chinese immigrants to be interviewed for this oral history project, and he provides invaluable information on the experience of early Chinese immigrants in Duluth. Portions of the tape are somewhat difficult to understand, but for the most part Huie's spoken English is understandable.
3 hours sound cassette
66 pages transcript
Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
01:54:22 running time
Interviewee: Huie, Joe
Interviewer: Mason, Sarah R.
Made in: Duluth, Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States
Asian Americans -- Minnesota
Chinese Americans -- Minnesota.
|Holding Type||Oral History - Interview|
OH 51 (Library Call Number)
AV1981.361.6 (Accession Number)
MNHS Library Catalog
Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Asians in Minnesota Oral History Project'