Uncle Willie's Diploma

Relationship: unknown

In 1898 my great grandfather migrated to the US from China and settled in Sacramento. He had 5 children, including Willie, my great uncle, who was born in 1915. Uncle Willie was a teacher - he received a Bachelor's degree at UC Berkeley and subsequently a PhD from Columbia Teacher's College in New York. He was an idealist and had worked as a liaison between the Chinese and American governments during the work up to World War II and later, in the 1950s, moved to China to help modernize the country, working as a teacher. He eventually was caught up in the political turmoil of the Cultural Revolution, and due to his being American born and educated, was persecuted, reduced to poor health and subsequently died due to external influences in 1969. During his persecution many of his papers and writings were destroyed, among them his diploma from Columbia. Recently, his daughter and granddaughter, who reside in China, were able to journey to New York for the first time, and revisit many of the places Uncle Willie had frequently during his time here. My father, through his persistent research and efforts was able to have Uncle Willie's Columbia diploma reissued - which later this year, will be presented in person to Uncle Willie's wife, who also resides in China. After decades of loss, our family is once again reunited with not just a piece of paper - one that took his life - but a physical embodiment of what he believed in and learned from this great country of America.

Year: 1951

– Derek C.

Relationship:  unknown unknown