Issue Date: May 22, 2023 Media contact: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Nathaniel Jue, Communications Coordinator, (408) 712-0025 

Chinese in the Richmond Exhibition Explores History of the Chinese American Experience in San Francisco 

SAN FRANCISCO, May 22, 2023—The Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) along with the Western Neighborhood Project (WNP) announce the launch of the traveling exhibit Chinese in the Richmond. This series of oral histories explores the Chinese American experience in one of San Francisco’s largest and most diverse neighborhoods, which has evolved from predominantly Irish and German populations to one with large European and Asian communities. Chinese in the Richmond will make its debut with an evening reception at One Richmond San Francisco on Thursday, May 25, 2023, at 5 p.m. 

Featuring personal stories and testimonies collected by family members of the earliest Chinese American homeowners and business owners, Chinese in the Richmond describes life in the Richmond District as early adaptors when San Francisco’s northwest quadrant became increasingly populated by Chinese Americans. It is a companion exhibit to CHSA’s 2017 Chinese in the Sunset

The goal of these two exhibits is to shed light on the Chinese American migration away from San Francisco Chinatown to the western part of the city during the early part of the 20th century. Support from then-San Francisco Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, a fourth-generation Chinese American and Richmond resident for over 50 years, and from WNP, which helped secure funding for this project, helped jump start ideation for Chinese in the Richmond in 2019. These two exhibitions complete a narrative pathway

through the barriers and restrictions that were overcome by Chinese Americans as they first brought families to both the Sunset and Richmond neighborhoods. 

“I think that my mother and father moving out to the Richmond was sort of this anomaly—that people were moving out there were so far out. Many people did not drive at that time, so they were completely dependent on buses and MUNI.” — former San Francisco Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer,. 

The bulk of this project concentrates on 25 oral history interviews conducted by CHSA Collections Manager Palma You and Steve Haines of CHSA via Zoom from October 2020 through June 2021. In the face of pandemic, Chinese in the Richmond pivoted to hybrid virtual and in-person events. In November 2020, You and Haines joined WNP for a virtual program called “Chinese in the Sunset, Chinese in the Richmond,” attended by over 80 people. As pandemic restrictions relaxed, WNP hosted a Community Open House in the Richmond District. 

CHSA recorded stories of backbone, ability, resourcefulness, vibrancy, success, perception and change, and how challenges were navigated. By weaving together recorded oral history interviews with primary resources, Chinese in the Richmond has produced an exhibition that includes narratives adapted from transcript summaries by Nicole Meldahl of WNP. Copies of the WNP quarterly magazine featuring Chinese in the Richmond participants will be on hand at the upcoming grand opening. 

“Our property was on 21st Avenue, a four-unit apartment building where four generations of Fongs lived. My grandparents and uncle had one unit, my parents occupied the top two units and then eventually. I loved those early years. I loved the short walk down the flight of stairs to go visit my grandparents.” — Mindy Fong, owner of Jade Chocolates, formerly located on 6th Avenue and Clement Street. 

With the compilation of these histories, the exhibition will travel throughout San Francisco, beginning at One Richmond SF for two months and then on display at CHSA Museum. Other venues earmarked for exhibit display include community centers, public schools, and public libraries to reach a broader audience beyond the Richmond District. 

Chinese in the Richmond was made possible through a collaboration with the Western Neighborhoods Project and initial funding by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, former Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer and the Invest in Neighborhoods San Francisco program. The exhibit is also supported by funding from the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development; a California Humanities “Humanities for All” project grant; and by contributions from oral history donors within the Richmond District community. 

Special thanks to Chinatown Community Development Center and One Richmond for their generosity in providing space for the exhibition launch and display, and the Ly Family and Sugar Bowl Bakery, and Harmony Restaurant, Mill Valley for their hospitality support. 

Chinese in the Richmond is dedicated to Judy Yung and Alfred John Young. 


About CHSA 

The Chinese Historical Society of America in San Francisco is the oldest organization in the country dedicated to the presentation and preservation of Chinese American history. Since 1963, CHSA has strived to be a responsible steward of the remarkable narrative of the Chinese American community through education, exhibitions, and programming. 

About Western Neighborhood Project 

Western Neighborhoods Project is a 501(c)3 California nonprofit organization, formed in 1999, that preserves and shares the history and culture of the neighborhoods in western San Francisco. WNP is dedicated to the history of San Francisco’s Richmond, Sunset, OMI, and West of Twin Peaks districts. 



Special ceremonial remarks will be made by Chinese in the Richmond local residents, subjects, and contributors; project leaders and organizers; and public servants to share the importance of this exhibit to the neighborhood, the City of San Francisco, and the Chinese American community and its history. The exhibit grand opening will begin at 5 p.m. 

Presenters and speakers (additional participants may be added): 

  • Justin Hoover — Executive Director, CHSA 
  • Connie Chan — San Francisco Board of Supervisors, District 1 
  • Judge Bruce Chan — Superior Court, San Francisco 
  • Malcom Yeung — Executive Director, Chinatown Community Development Center ● Woody LaBounty — Historian, Writer 

A reception with dim sum refreshments provided by Harmony Rest of Marin will follow. Live music will be provided by Citizens Jazz. 

For more information, contact CHSA

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