Women have played a vital role in the course of human civilization, but much of their accomplishments and contributions have been excluded from history. Throughout California’s history, Chinese American women have contributed to the economy of our state. The Chinese Historical Society of America’s new exhibition Towards Equality: California’s Chinese American Women highlights their accomplishments in education, politics, finance, business, and their pivotal role as matriarchs. The exhibit is on view at CHSA from December 1, 2018 – June 2, 2019 Extended through Fall 2019! Towards Equality: California’s Chinese American Women will inform San Francisco Bay Area residents, with an … [read more →]
The Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) proudly launches Chinese in the Sunset, a project about the lives of Chinese Americans in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset District. Chinese in the Sunset illuminates the history of racial restrictions preventing Chinese and other people of color from living in the Sunset, how the 1960’s civil rights movement and subsequent legislation removed the restrictions, how social attitudes changed, and how different perspectives within the community has led the Outer Sunset to become a vibrant community today. We further hope the public will draw parallels with today’s national discussions of immigrant communities. Chinese in … [read more →]
An exhibit exploring Chinese American participation in the China Burma India (CBI) Theater of World War II When the United States entered World War II after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, China had already been at war with Japan for ten years. Chinese Americans had supported China’s lone fight, raising money for her defense and protesting the export of scrap iron and other material from the U.S. to Japan. At last America would recognize the importance of the Chinese role in the war in keeping large segments of Japanese armed forces occupied in China. Chinese … [read more →]
The Chinese Historical Society of America recently rediscovered eight watercolor paintings by renowned Chinese-American artist Jake Lee. As a steward of the Chinese American community narrative, CHSA is extremely proud to bring these spectacular paintings back to their home in San Francisco.
On permanent display in the CHSA Learning Center is an historic mural by James Leong (1929-2011), “One Hundred Years’ History of the Chinese in America.” James Leong was born in San Francisco Chinatown. His work as reporter and ad salesman for the Chinese Press put him on the radar of Chinatown businessmen, who commissioned him to paint this mural for the newly built Ping Yuen Housing Projects. The mural was met with stiff criticism by the community for its depiction of the history of Chinese in America. Hurt by this backlash and feeling stifled by an overstimulating Beat-era North Beach … [read more →]
The Chinatown Miniatures Collection was acquired by CHSA in 2004, as a donation from the artist, Frank Wong. This donation consisted of seven miniatures of scenes of Chinatown. The miniatures are on permanent display in CHSA’S Yick Gallery, and they are the subject of an award-winning 2016 PBS documentary Forever, Chinatown by Good Medicine Picture Company. Born and raised in Chinatown, Frank Wong attended Galileo High School and became a set designer for numerous movies and plays in Hollywood. One of his most famous jobs was for “Magnum PI”. Through his career he spent much of his time working in … [read more →]
In 1916, the National Board organized the first Chinese YWCA in America. From the 1930s to 1980s, the San Francisco YWCA Chinatown served as a social outlet for many Chinese American women in the community with dance lessons, cultural programs, cooking classes, youth activities, and more. Times changed in the 1960s when the Civil Rights Movement relaxed immigration laws that promoted racial equality and dramatically changed the make-up of the Chinese American community. By the 1980s, the building had become obsolete both in function & in meeting building code requirements. Faced with the high cost of retrofitting the building, the … [read more →]