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Photograph by Corky Lee

Corky Lee Book Talk & Panel

Saturday, May 18th | 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Artist: Corky Lee

Speakers: Cathy Park Hong, John (aka Johann) Lee, Mabel Teng

RSVP is full for this event, please join us virtually through the livestream below!

Live Stream Begins on Saturday, May 18 at 4:00 PM


Corky Lee's Asian America: Fifty Years of Photographic Justice
Photographed by Corky Lee
Edited by Chee Wang Ng and Mae Ngai
On Sale April 9th, 2024

The first book of its kind, ambitiously presenting not only an iconic photographer’s work but a sweeping, rich visual account of the AAPI social justice movement. A timely publication before AAPI Heritage Month that will resonate deeply with readers today.

Known throughout his lifetime as the “undisputed, unofficial Asian American photographer laureate,” the late photojournalist Corky Lee documented Asian American and Pacific Islander communities for fifty years, breaking the stereotype of Asian Americans as docile, passive, and, above all, foreign to this country.


Corky Lee’s Asian America is a stunning retrospective of his life’s work--a selection of the best photographs from his vast collection, from his start in New York’s Chinatown in the 1970s to his coverage of diverse Asian American communities across the country until his untimely passing in 2021. Corky Lee's Asian America traces Lee’s decades-long quest for photographic justice, following Asian American social movements for recognition and rights alongside his artistic development as an activist social photographer. Iconic photographs feature protests against police brutality in New York in the 1970s, a Sikh man draped in an American flag after 9/11, and a reenactment of the completion of the transcontinental railroad of 1869 featuring descendants of Chinese railroad workers, and his last photos of community life and struggle during the coronavirus pandemic.


Asian American writers, artists, activists, and friends of Lee reflect on his life and career and provide rich historical and cultural context to his photographs, including a foreword from writer Hua Hsu and contributions from artist Ai Weiwei, filmmaker Renée Tajima-Peña, writer Helen Zia, photographer Alan Chin, historian Gordon Chang, playwright David Henry Hwang, and more. Featuring never-before-seen photographs alongside his best-known images, Corky Lee’s Asian America represents Lee’s mission to chronicle a history of inclusion, resistance, ethnic pride, and patriotism. This is a remarkable documentation of vital moments in Asian American history and a timely reminder that it’s also a history that we continue to make.

About the Authors:
Corky Lee (1947-2021) was a native of Queens, New York, and an activist-photographer who
documented Asian American communities and movements for social justice for fifty continuous years.

Mae Ngai is Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and professor of history at Columbia
University. She is the author of several books, most recently The Chinese Question.

Chee Wang Ng is a New York-based visual artist and photographer

About Johann:

John AKA Johann is the last surviving sibling to Corky Lee and the third born son of their immigrant parents. Like his sister and three brothers they were products of the family laundry, public education and like Corky of  CUNY. Working at times beside Corky and other young Asian-Americans through the first half of the 70s in the Asian American movement he left NYC for USC Law School in Los Angeles in 1975.  In law school he became involved in defending victims of police brutality and civil disobedience and continued doing so over a 30 year period serving working class and indigent clients in private practice and as a public defender throughout southern California.


Now retired from active practice he is, Mr. Dad to 2 daughters (14 & 22) and wife, Barbara. Since his appointment in April 2021 as executor to the Corky Lee Estate he has sought create a legacy worthy of Corky and the broader AAPPI and American community.

Check out the book review by Brandon Yu!

Photograph by Corky Lee
Photograph by Corky Lee
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