After the War in Vietnam

Relationship: Im/migrant
Refugees escape by boat. Wing Luke Museum Collection
Refugees escape by boat. Wing Luke Museum Collection

Over 1.4 million Southeast Asian refugees have resettled in the US since 1975, including Joseph Pham Xuân Vinh and Phung Quoc Cuong, who came to Seattle as refugees from Vit Nam.

“On the morning of the 30th [of April, 1975], which is the last day of the war, my wife was pregnant then, and she somehow managed to go to one of my neighbors who have a telephone, and call me and say she was in labor. Because of that I was allowed to come home [from my army unit], and try to find way to get out of Saigon... We went to the pier, the Saigon pier, Bien Bach Dang… And we are among the last people to walk on that plank to the ship… There are only one machine working, barely working, but we were lucky enough that some mechanic fix it, and so we carried about 5,000 people on that boat… and we limped out of the Saigon pier about three o’clock in the afternoon.” – Joseph Pham Xuân Vinh

“I worked for the Indochinese Service Center… 1982 is when the most massive wave of boat people escaped from Vit Nam… Local government or school district have no clue as to what to do with them or how to deal with them. Okay, you 19, how about seventh grade? And then they are all destined for failure right away. The schools were not ready for it… so they need some help from the ethnic community… I work with the Asian Gang Task Force, police officers, juvenile court probation officers, how to bring this program, do some outreach deep in the community to help parents, help the kids too.” – Phung Quoc Cuong 


Place(s): Seattle; Vietnam

– Voices of the Immigration Station, Wing Luke Museum

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant