Author John Jung grew up in Macon, Georgia and is the author of four books on the history of Chinese in America. His family were the only Chinese in the city and they lived above their family-operated laundry. After moving to California, Jung majored in psychology at U. C. Berkeley and went on to earn a Ph.D. at Northwestern University. He is the author of several academic textbooks, including Alcohol Other Drugs, and Behavior (Second Edition) and Professor of Psychology Emeritus at California State University, Long Beach where he taught for 40 years.
After retiring in 2007 Jung’s reflections on his experiences growing up in Georgia in an era when Jim Crow laws prevailed led him to write about his family’s life there in a memoir, Southern Fried Rice: Life in A Chinese Laundry in the Deep South. His second book, published in 2007, Chinese Laundries: Tickets to Survival on Gold Mountain, examines the significant role that their laundries had on the economic survival of Chinese immigrants throughout North America from around the 1870s to 1970s. In 2008, he published Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton: Lives of Mississippi Delta Chinese Grocers, a book about the social history of the few Chinese immigrants who came to this region in the late 1800s to run grocery stores mainly in black neighborhoods. His fourth book, Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants, published in 2010, is a social history of Chinese restaurants and the lives of families that operated this popular ethnic business for over a century.
Jung’s approach to history goes beyond dates and events to examine the life experiences of Chinese immigrants. The goal is to understand how they coped to overcome the hostile societal prejudices against Chinese and other “Orientals” from the late 1800s until beyond the middle of the past century to succeed by operating family businesses such as laundries, grocery stores, and restaurants to enable their children to gain higher education that moved them beyond these humble origins into successful careers in many prestigious fields.