Oral Histories

Interview of Julia Wu

Immigrant from Taiwan. Librarian for the Los Angeles Unified School District and chair of the Performing Arts Foundation for Asian Americans.
Suburban Chinatown: Chinese American Business and Political Leaders in the San Gabriel Valley
Asian American History
Biographical Note:
Immigrant from Taiwan. Librarian for the Los Angeles Unified School District and chair of the Performing Arts Foundation for Asian Americans.
Cline, Alex
Wu, Julia
Persons Present:
Wu and Cline.
Place Conducted:
Wu's home in Silver Lake in Los Angeles, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Alex Cline, series coordinator, UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research; musician. Cline prepared for the interview by studying biographical information supplied by the interviewee.
Processing of Interview:
Center for Oral History Research program staff prepared a timed log of the audio recording of the interview. Wu was given the opportunity to review the log in order to supply missing or misspelled names and to verify the accuracy of the content. The corrections made were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff.
5.5 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
The Suburban Chinatown series focuses on political and business leaders in the San Gabriel Valley who came to the U.S. in the post-1965 wave of Asian immigration after the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 abolished the quota system based on national origins. The series was undertaken as a collaborative effort between the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research and the American East Asian Cultural and Educational Foundation (AEACEF). AEACEF recommended the majority of the individuals interviewed and introduced the interviewer to the narrators. Many of the narrators are also featured in the AEACEF’s book Thirty Years of Chinese American Immigration in Southern California.
Birth and family background—Father's background—Mother's background—Early life—Fleeing to Vietnam—Growing up during a time of war—Mother's parenting style—Younger sister's health—Getting baptized—Practicing Chinese and Catholic customs—Escaping Chinese civil war—Being separated from father—Effects of moving due to war—Journey to Taiwan—School in Taiwan—Attending college and working—Involvement in Catholic church—Exposure to English—Receiving scholarship to Immaculate Heart College.
Engaging in leadership roles--Attending a conference in South Korea—Traveling to Los Angeles—Attending Immaculate Heart College—Taking an exam for a student visa—Exposure to America’s racial diversity—Interest in library science—Working part-time during graduate school—Experience with other students and teachers—Living in Chinatown—Gaining residency and citizenship—Working for Los Angeles County Public Library—Passing of parents and bringing sister to the U.S.—Meeting husband, Alfred—Alfred’s educational background—Marriage and children—Buying a house in Silver Lake—Julia and Alfred’s wedding.
Raising three children—Choosing which Chinese dialect to teach children—Children’s interests—Differences in Chinese and American approaches to discipline—Being a "tiger mom"’—Ethnic background of families in neighborhood—Worrying about children’s career choices—Supporting son's interest in art—Differences in American and Chinese education—Children’s extracurricular activities—Working as a teacher—Community involvement—Meeting Richard Nixon—Joining the National Commission on Library and Information Science—Richard Nixon’s impact on Wu and on Chinese community—Serving on education and library commissions under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush—Analysis of presidents.
Relationship with sister Jeanette--Establishing a network of international library participation and information dissemination through computer technology—Encouraging minorities to join library and information studies field—Views on digital technology and libraries—Participating on California Community College Board of Trustees—Running for public office—Patriotism—Being elected and appointed to different boards—Getting second master’s degree—Relaxation of immigration quotas—Decrease of employment opportunities—Views on ‘melting pot’ image of United States—Chinese immigrants and Chinatown—Taking a singing class—Creating a performing arts foundation for Asian Americans—Experience as a working mother—Joining the Commission on the Status of Women—Serving on the Hollywood Arts Council—Reflecting on children’s appreciation of Chinese heritage—Wu’s heritage and identity—Similarities between China and U.S.--Moral decay of the United States.