SACRAMENTO—Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) introduced House Resolution 31 today to declare May 10 as California Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial Day in honor of the nearly 12,000 Chinese railroad workers who helped build the Transcontinental Railroad.
“The thousands of Chinese immigrants who risked their lives to build the Transcontinental Railroad faced prejudice, unsafe working conditions and low wages. Their sacrifice and courage must never be forgotten,” said Assemblymember Evan Low.
Completed on May 10, 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad was one of the most remarkable engineering feats of the 19th century. It took six years to build and stretched for nearly 2,000 miles. Nearly 12,000 Chinese immigrants were employed in the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, comprising more than 80 percent of the Central Pacific Railroad Company’s workforce.
The Chinese railroad workers faced prejudice, isolation and dangerous working conditions. Nearly 1,200 Chinese railroad workers died from work accidents, avalanches, and explosions while working in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
In 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor inducted the Chinese Railroad workers into the Labor Hall of Honor for their courageous fight for better working conditions.