AILF -- Immigrants Who Have
Benefited America

Photo of Bette Bao Lord

Bette Bao Lord
Author and Human Rights Advocate

Bette Bao Lord was born in Shanghai and came to the United States at the age of eight when her father, a British-trained engineer, was sent here in 1946 by the Chinese government to purchase equipment. In 1947 Ms. Bao Lord and her family were stranded in the United States when Mao Zedong and his communist rebels won the civil war in China. Ms. Bao Lord has written eloquently about her painful childhood experiences as a Chinese immigrant in the post-World War II United States in her autobiographical children's book In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. In this book she describes her struggle to learn English and to become accepted by her classmates.

Today, Ms. Bao Lord is a distinguished novelist and writer, and serves as chair of the Board of Trustees of Freedom House. Established by Wendell Wilkie and Eleanor Roosevelt in 1941, Freedom House is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting democracy around the world.

President Clinton has hailed Ms. Bao Lord as "someone who writes so powerfully about the past and is working so effectively to shape the future." Her First novel, Spring Moon (1981), set in pre-revolutionary China, was an international bestseller and American Book Award nominee for best first novel. The Middle Heart (1996), Ms. Bao Lord's most recent novel, spans 70 years of modern Chinese history, ending in 1989 with the student-led demonstrations at Tiananmen Square.

Ms. Bao Lord received an MA from Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and gradated with her BA from Tufts University. She lives in the U.S. with her husband Winston Lord, former Ambassador to China and high Ranking Sate Department official.

Copyright © 1999 American Immigration Law Foundation