The Gee clan of Houston is the largest and most prominent network of Chinese Americans in Houston. Linked together by a commonly shared last name, Gee (朱), and not always by blood, it is remarkable in that its members actively work to keep the ties strong, especially the younger generation, whose cultural reference is thoroughly American. This article examines how the Gees parlayed the traditional Chinese affinity for associations based on the same surname or place of origin into a hybrid model adapted for maximum efficacy in the new world. Led by a small group of generous and resourceful elders who put down roots in the Bayou city, the Gees rose from humble beginnings, endured the Jim Crow restrictions on non-whites, and attained great social, financial, and political heights. A brief discussion on the migration and assimilation patterns of overseas Chinese offers a conceptual framework with which to understand the settlement process of this remarkable group of individuals. The following stories are derived from interviews in HAAA, and form the basis of a planned in-depth study of the Gee clan.
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