First, my website for my memoir, Southern Fried Rice, was discovered by an eminent scholar, Prof. Judy Yung, who contacted me because she was about to give several talks in Georgia about Chinese women in America. She became interested in my story and urged me to present a talk at a conference in San Francisco in 2005. She, and another historian, Sylvia Sun-Minnick, encouraged and mentored me in completing Southern Fried Rice.
At about the same time, Daniel Bronstein, a doctoral candidate writing about the history of Chinese in Georgia also came across my website, and with his support and that of his faculty mentor, Dr. Krystn Moon, I prepared a paper for the Atlanta meeting of the Asian American Studies Association about Chinese laundrymen in the South that were related to our family. Publicity about this presentation attracted the attention of other Atlanta organizations that invited me to speak, Who's Who Among Asian Americans in Georgia, National Association of Asian American Professionals, Organization of Chinese Americans, and Consolidated Chinese Benevolent Association (Augusta).
The success I had in speaking about "Southern Fried Rice," was gratifying and gave me confidence that the story I had to share was worthwhile. At first, I was a bit surprised because I didn't think I was telling Chinese in the South anything they had not observed or experienced firsthand themselves. Then I realized that the reception was not so much to my brilliance as a speaker but a feeling of affirmation, someone was publicizing their plight as members of a small and silent minority living in a region of strong racial prejudices.