Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

Picture yourself stepping off a boat from China in 1883 into an unknown land full of foreign people. You are dumped on a rocky island where you are forced to stay there for weeks, even months, as you try to prove to immigration officials who you “really” are. Finally, you are allowed to enter San Francisco. You must fend off racist Americans. You make your way to a dingy little neighborhood filled with other Chinese. This safe haven is called Chinatown.

Chinatown has been home to Chinese Americans for more than 160 years. This website explores San Francisco Chinatown, from its fascinating beginnings to current day. The Chinese went through a lot of struggles to get where they are today.

My Immigration article is about how the Chinese got here and their immigration patterns. Before they be able to enter the United States, Chinese were detained on Angel Island for questioning. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 made it difficult for the Chinese to immigrate here. It was the only law ever passed in the United States to exclude a race of people from entering. Find out how they got around the law, where they came from, and why they came.

The Old Chinatown article describes how the people lived in Chinatown from the 1900s until the 1940s. This includes their struggles, what they did for entertainment, what it was like growing up, the different job opportunities, etc.

In the Modern Chinatown article, I report on life in new Chinatown, from the 1950s until now. I interviewed Rev. Norman Fong, a community organizer, and Charlie Chin, a community historian and storyteller. Both grew up in Chinatown and describe growing up from a first-hand view. See the Timeline on Vuvox.com I created featuring the significant events in Chinese American history.

My Family History talks about my great grandfather, who immigrated from Hong Kong in 1927. He was detained at Angel Island before arriving in San Francisco. Eventually, he settled in New York Chinatown where he opened up a grocery store. I have dedicated this project to Kong Chow Chun.

To get some insight, I went on a tour of San Francisco Chinatown with Wok Wiz Chinatown Tours. I talk about this interesting tour in On-Site Observation. I also shot a video of the tour which you can find on the same page. I found it very informative and entertaining, and the food we ate was delicious.

In Final Thoughts, I discuss how I learned a lot of stuff after all my research. For instance, before this I didn’t know about the Chinese Exclusion Act or anything about what the first Chinese had to go through. All this research also made me a lot more aware of my own history. I had no idea my great grandfather was such an important figure in Chinatown.

I personally find the history of the Chinese in America shocking. They were treated terribly. It seems like Americans were extremely racist back in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Thank you,
Maya Chin


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