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Decades After Clashing With The Klan, A Thriving Vietnamese Community In Texas

When Vietnamese immigrants first arrived in Texas, they received a hostile reception from locals who were concerned about competition. Now that immigrant community is thriving.


Hien Tran, 66, and her dog Lucy at the Thai Xuan Village apartment complex in Houston.

When Vietnamese refugees first settled in the coastal town of Seadrift, Texas, they encountered prejudice and resentment from some of the locals. It culminated on Nov. 25, 1979, when the Ku Klux Klan came to the fishing village. They menaced the Vietnamese fishermen who were competing with native white fishermen and told them to get off the water and get out of town. This was part of the hostile reception given to some of the 130,000 Vietnamese refugees who came to the U.S. after the fall of Saigon.

Four decades later, the Vietnamese are now a fixture along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The arc of the Vietnamese resettlement experience is instructive history, and it offers a lens through which to view current attitudes toward immigrants.

A Vietnam War Memorial at a Vietnamese strip mall in Houston.
Thao Ha, who grew up in Houston and now teaches sociology at a college in California, drives in traffic as she tells NPR reporters about life in Houston's Little Saigo