Ruthanne Lum McCunn: Chinese Yankee – A True Story

Chinese Yankee
A True Story

from the U.S. Civil War
by Ruthanne Lum McCunn
Thursday October 30, 2014

7 pm – Brandywine Workshop, 728 S Broad Street


The true story of Hong Kong born Thomas Sylvanus (Ah Yee Way), an orphan brought to America for schooling in the mid-1850s, but enslaved in Baltimore. Only sixteen at the outbreak of war, Thomas ran north, joined the Freedom Army, and was blinded in the first major campaign. He failed to fully recover his sight and, deemed incapable of performing the duties of a soldier, was discharged. Yet he reenlisted twice, saved his regiment’s colors during the bloodbath of Spotsylvania, was lamed at Cold Harbor, and survived 9 months imprisonment in the dreaded Andersonville stockade. His health broken, but his spirit intact, he battled for survival and justice for his family and himself until his death in 1891.

Ruthanne Lum McCunn, writer of Chinese and Scottish descent whose award-winning work has been translated into eleven languages and adapted for stage and film, will present her latest work. Books will be available.  co-sponsored by the Moonstone Arts Center, The National Museum of American Jewish History and the Philadelphia Writing Project.

“Riveting. Couldn’t put it down! Couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. It’s one thing to see a faded black and white picture, quite another to read it in living color, flesh and bone, joy and sorrow.” – Carol Shively, editor, Asians and Pacific Islanders and the Civil War it.”

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