Chinese Exclusion: Celebrating the Workers Who Helped Build the Transcontinental Railway

It’s one of the most famous images in American history. One hundred fifty years ago this month, dozens of men, a few holding celebratory bottles of liquor, from the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads were photographed in honor of the completion of the transcontinental railway.

There are workers and bosses. Politicians and businessmen. But one group is conspicuously absent. There are no Chinese faces among the men celebrating the incredible feat of engineering which linked a nation together and marked the beginning of the United States’ rise as a continental empire and a global power.