Written by William Gow
The newly established Chinatown Remembered Project represents the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California’s on-going effort to document the history of Los Angeles Chinatown and the surrounding Chinese American communities as they developed in the 1930s and 1940s. In order to document this history, local college-age youth worked closely with an older generation of Chinese Americans who remembered the period. The older generation of Chinatown residents shared their life histories and memories with our youth volunteers and interns who then edited the stories down into the short video life histories on this website.
The Los Angeles Chinatown Remembered Project has two stated goals. On the one hand, we hope to document the memories of these pivotal decades in local history while we still have the opportunity to do so. On the other hand, we hope to expose a younger generation to the importance of preserving local history. As such, we look on the process of documenting history to be as important as the documentation itself. We see the Chinatown Remembered Project as not only a documentation project, but also as a way to attract a new and younger generation of young people to the important work of historical preservation.
In keeping with these goals, many of the articles on this website were written and researched by local youth: some by our college interns and others by members of the local Los Angeles Chinatown Youth Council (LACYC), a youth group sponsored by the Chinatown Service Center. Members of LACYC were given copies of the interview transcripts and access to the CHSSC Reading Room, and they developed and wrote short articles focused on our local history. These articles were then submitted to the CHSSC and edited by Annie Luong our project youth coordinator and a student herself. Annie revised many of the essays from the original drafts submitted by her fellow youth and prepared them for publication.
It is our hope that the accomplishments of the Chinatown Remembered Project can be expanded in the coming years. The work of this project is only one of many projects currently supported by the CHSSC. From the Portraits of Pride series to our new Chinese American Family History working group, the CHSSC continues to do the important work of documenting the history of our local community.
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE CALIFORNIA COUNCIL FOR HUMANITIES STORIES INITIATIVE
This project is made possible, in part, by a grant from the California Council for the Humanities as part of the Council’s statewide California Stories Initiative. The Council is an independent non-profit organization and a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on the Council and the California Stories Initiative, visit www.californiastories.org
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the Chinatown Remembered Project do not necessarily represent those of the California Council for the Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.