Special Screening of Samantha Cheng’s Documentary: Honor and Duty: The Mississippi Delta Chinese 

Syracuse University students, friends, and faculty members gathered for a special screening of Journalist/Filmmaker Samantha Cheng’s Documentary “Honor & Duty: The Mississippi Delta Chinese” on Friday, Sept. 16 at the National Veteran’s Resource Center.

Attendees enjoyed a reception before moving to the auditorium for an introduction to the Mississippi Delta, the viewing of the documentary, and a Q&A hosted by Cheng. Focusing on the story of the Chinese who were recruited to work in the Mississippi Delta after the Civil War, the documentary explores how the community steadily grew in the early part of the 20th century. Despite the Chinese Exclusion Acts (1882-1943), which barred both immigration and citizenship for Chinese, more than 22,000 Chinese and Chinese Americans served in WWII. Among the Mississippi Delta Chinese, 132 served in the Army, 24 in the Air Force, 19 in the Navy, and two in the Marines. These unsung heroes discuss their lives before, during, and after the war. 

Cheng came to Syracuse at the invitation of Professor Mary Szto, who teaches Asian Americans and the Law at the College of Law. Szto and Cheng were childhood friends in the Chinese American church in New York City that Szto’s father founded, but were only reunited this year after losing touch for several decades. 

According to Szto, Cheng’s work in telling the story of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) veterans dovetails with the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)’s groundbreaking research on current AAPI veterans in their transition from service to civilian life. Szto says these stories and research are critical to addressing current anti-Asian and other racial violence in the U.S., and growing global tensions. 

See more details in SU Today.