Connect to Houston: Sharing the Stories of Asian Americans in Houston
The Gee Family
Asia Society Texas Center and the Houston Asian American Archive of the Chao Center at Rice University have collaborated to develop a curriculum toolkit featuring the stories of Houston's Asian American community. The goals of this curriculum are to bring local and personal context to the topic of immigration, to celebrate the rich diversity of Houston and Texas, and to inspire students to share their own stories and the stories of their communities.
This curriculum toolkit is designed utilizing Asia Society's Center for Global Education four domains of Global Competency. These four domains serve as a structure for this curriculum, which develops student skills and knowledge by challenging students to investigate the world, recognize other perspectives, communicate ideas, and take action.
Connect to the Gee Family
This toolkit presents the interviews and stories of the Gee family, one of the largest networks of Chinese Americans in Houston. Led by a small group of generous and resourceful elders who put down roots in the Bayou City, the Gees rose from humble beginnings, endured the Jim Crow restrictions on non-whites, and attained great social, financial, and political heights.
Using This Curriculum
This toolkit provides materials for teaching about history and immigration through the stories of Asian American Houstonians. Different pieces of the curriculum can be used and adapted to different units, grade levels, and content areas. All content is aligned to the Texas Educational Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for middle school and high school social studies courses, as referenced in pages 11–13. Student learning outcomes are listed in each section.
Essential Questions Explored in the Curriculum
The following essential questions represent the key themes and inquiries students will explore during the Connect to Houston unit. Questions include:
- How are current issues of immigration in the United States connected to the past, particularly in Houston?
- What can the stories of the Gee family tell us about patterns of Chinese immigration to the United States?
- How do stories inspire us to make connections to ourselves and our community?
- How can I share the stories of my family or community?
About the Houston Asian American Archive
The Houston Asian American Archive collects, documents, and preserves the lived experiences of the Asian diaspora in Houston, aiming to develop a broader understanding of history through their lens, which continues to evolve towards the studies of Asia in a transnational perspective.
Our mission is to explore the varied experiences of Asians and Asian Americans in the Houston community, and to understand both the challenges they have faced and the contributions they have made. We aim to capture all generations from all walks of life in order to create an inclusive portrayal of the Houston Asian and Asian American community. We intend this project to provide a documentary history linking these life stories to larger national, regional, and global narratives.
About the Chao Center for Asian Studies at Rice University
The Chao Center for Asian Studies is the premier research hub for faculty, students and post-doctoral scholars working in Asian studies at Rice. Our focus is on transnational, trans-historic, diasporic, and global movements of peoples and cultures of greater Asia. The mission of the Chao Center includes outreach to Asian and Asian American populations in Houston and beyond, promoting scholarly community building and broader understanding. The Center is the home of the Transnational Asia Research Initiative, supporting the work of a team of post-doctoral scholars, and publishes a twice-yearly online journal, Transnational Asia. The Chao Center also supports programs such as the Houston Asian American Archive and hosts the Frank Liu Distinguished Visitor Series. The Center works very closely with the Department of Transnational Asian Studies in the School of Humanities.
The Chao Center was founded with a generous gift from the T. T. and W. F. Chao Family Foundation in 2008 and has been awarded grants from the Henry Luce Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Academy of Korean Studies.
About Asia Society Texas Center
With 13 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the West. Asia Society Texas Center executes the global mission with a local focus, enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach.
ASTC’s Education and Outreach programs have introduced children, adults, and families to the diversity found in Asian cultures across the globe, while also providing platforms for our vibrant Asian Americans communities to celebrate their culture through a number of initiatives, including our TEKS-aligned School Tour Program, ExploreAsia Culture Camps, Family Days, and the Young Leaders Institute.
As educators, we play a critical role in encouraging and teaching students to find points of understanding and connection among diverse cultures. Through our Connect to Houston series, Asia Society Texas Center aims to help educators build a foundation for global learning and foster cultural empathy by sparking learner curiosity, building cultural empathy, and sharing perspectives.