Today’s highly integrated and thriving North Texas Vietnamese population is the latest chapter in a story that began as the Vietnam War ended and waves of refugees left Vietnam. From the first months after the fall of Saigon in April of 1975, North Texas became home to Vietnamese refugees, with many churches and other organizations sponsoring refugee families. Subsequent waves of refugees made North Texas their home, for reasons related to weather, family ties, or jobs, after initially settling elsewhere. Now, North Texas is home to the fourth largest Vietnamese community in the United States, with over a third of the Vietnamese people in Texas living in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

The interviews conducted for this project highlight the experience of Vietnamese refugees and their families as they integrated into neighborhoods, schools, churches, temples, and jobs. The focus of the project was to document and preserve the stories of the community and to understand the particularities of integrating into the social and economic landscape of North Texas. What were the challenges- in the workplace, in school, in housing- that Vietnamese refugees faced as they became Texans?

The “Becoming Texans, Becoming Americans” Oral History project documents the stories of Vietnamese refugees who arrived in North Texas following the fall of Saigon in April 1975. The oral history interviews were conducted with the support of the Charlton Oral History Research Grant from Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History and illuminate particular challenges faced by Vietnamese refugees in the post-Vietnam War era, the process of starting a new life in a new country, and what it means to “become American.”

Oral Histories