Matt Walsh and his book The Good Governor

"The Good Governor" Book Highlights Robert Ray's Work with Indochinese Refugees

Posted 6/7/2017

DMACC History Professor Writes Book on Ray’s Leadership

After the Americans withdrew from the Vietnam War, their Indochinese allies faced imprisonment, torture and death under communist regimes. The Tai Dam, an ethnic group from northern Vietnam, campaigned for sanctuary, writing letters to 30 U.S. governors in 1975. Only Robert D. Ray of Iowa agreed to help.

Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) History Professor Dr. Matthew Walsh wrote a book, “The Good Governor:  Robert Ray and the Indochinese Refugees of Iowa.” In the book, Walsh said Ray wielded more influence over Indochinese refugee resettlement and relief than any other governor in the nation.

According to Walsh, Governor Ray created his own agency to relocate the Tai Dam, advocated for the greater admission of “boat people” fleeing Vietnam, launched a Cambodian relief program that generated more than $540,000 and lobbied for the Refugee Act of 1980.

In the book, Walsh chronicles how the Tai Dam adapted to life in the Midwest and of Iowans’ divided response.

Walsh’s book is for sale at area book stores.  Walsh will be signing discounted copies of his book in Bldg. #1, Room 124-126 on the DMACC Urban Campus at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, July 13.

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