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"self-made": finding cultural identity in Chinatown | Spacing Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

"self-made": finding cultural identity in Chinatown | Spacing Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
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Edmonton's Chinatown is 'split' into a north and a south section with a gap created by urban changes.  Fung notes "... physical planning in this case, is not as important as the social planning aspect of this neighbourhood.  To design only towards cultural ornamentation and aesthetic answers just a third of our conversation."

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Chinese American Now
Websites dealing with contemporary issues and news relevant to Chinese America
Curated by John Jung
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Two Curated Collections of Websites on Chinese American History, Past and Present

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A brief guide to my 2 curated collections of websites on Chinese American history, past and present, on Scoop.It, and how to use the FILTER to search them for websites that were posted earlier.

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Seattle’s Historic INS Building, Once Ellis Island of the Northwest, Now Artist Studios

Seattle’s Historic INS Building, Once Ellis Island of the Northwest, Now Artist Studios | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
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Local artists are migrating to the same space that once served as the Ellis Island of the Northwest

 

Brangien Davis  |   April 2011   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION, Seattle Magazine 

 

 

One of dozens of artists working in former INS offices reborn as studios

PHOTO CREDIT: Hayley Young

 

When still operational, the U.S. Immigrant Station and Assay Office (commonly called the INS building) was recognizable both for its commanding neoclassical presence on Airport Way South and for the long lines of people that waited (and waited) out front, rain or shine, hoping to become American citizens. Opened in 1932 and now on the National Register of Historic Places, the five-story, 77,000-square-foot structure closed in 2004, after the Immigration and Naturalization Service had become the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services under the Department of Homeland Security (in 2003) and a new facility opened in Tacoma. The historic building stood empty for nearly six years, until a recent series of events imparted new life as the soon-to-be largest artist enclave in Seattle.


Rolf Hogger is founder and CEO of MRJ Constructors, a general contracting firm that completed the historic renovation of the Melrose Market on Capitol Hill. Commuting from Bainbridge Island, Hogger walked by the INS building every day for 10 years. “I admired it so much,” he recalls. “You just don’t see architecture like that anymore.” And then, one day, he saw a sign announcing the building was going up for auction. With a group of 11 other investors (as INS Holdings LLC), Hogger purchased the building in 2008 for $4.4 million.


“Originally, the concept was offices,” Hogger says, but since the building was labeled historic, he knew a massive renovation wouldn’t be possible. “We knew it was always going to be a funky space, so we were looking for creative tenants.” But while the vision was for a mix of artist tenants and creative companies, when the local real estate market tanked over the next year, businesses in search of space were able to find reasonably priced, less-funky offices downtown. “We couldn’t compete,” says Hogger.


Enter Sam Farrazaino. A sculptor also skilled in construction, Farrazaino has a long history of developing artist enclaves in Seattle—including the 619 Western Building in Pioneer Square (which at press time was hanging in the balance, due its proximity to the doomed Alaskan Way Viaduct), where he began parceling out spaces in 1995 and now rents two floors to 10 tenants. “I came in [to the INS project] to give ideas on how to attract artists and build good artist spaces,” Farrazaino explains. Noting that the original idea was to have artists on the first floor and offices on the remainder, he says, “It became clear to me the whole building should be filled with artists.”


All too familiar with the visible earthquake damage sustained by the 619 building, Farrazaino was drawn to the fortress-like construction of the INS building (“It’s really solid,” he marvels) and also the fact that the space had already been divided into offices, making it easily transformable into individual artist studios—not to mention the huge windows, high ceilings and nearness to gallery-laden Pioneer Square. “If I can develop a space at the right level,” he says, “make it workable for artists—not the Taj Mahal, but not a slum—and give artists an affordable rate, I’ll keep it full.” He’s well on his way.


After renaming the building Inscape, the owners (Farrazaino serves as property manager and has an ownership stake) held an open house last October. More than 3,000 people attended, including many artists who reportedly were rushing into the vacant offices exclaiming, “Mine!” Inscape can hold 100 to 125 tenants, depending on how the larger spaces are divided. (Farrazaino hopes some of those tenants will be artists displaced from 619 Western.) Studio rentals run from about $1 to $1.80 per square foot, depending on windows, ventilation and other factors. (Currently, the spaces are designated for work, not dwelling.) At press time, 50 tenants had taken occupancy and 16 more were poised to move in soon.


The building’s first occupant was a pioneer of sorts. Sculptor Julia Haack, who uses her 550-square-foot studio to craft artwork from salvaged wood, arrived in December 2009. “The building is aesthetically beautiful to me,” she says. “It’s an easy bike ride from where I live, it’s close to downtown, and the owners were promising that they would bring more artists in.” Haack says she loved having the building all to herself during the first several months, but she’s also looking forward to new neighbors. “I’m hoping that as more artists move in, and with some organization, we can learn about each other and plan events that will be beneficial to ourselves and to the arts community.”


Alicia Tormey, an encaustic painter, moved into her approximately 600-square-foot studio last October and says the building’s vibe changes every day. “The more artists who come, the more fun it is to be here,” she says. Having worked in isolation at home for the past 10 years, Tormey is thrilled by the concentration of creative types in what she calls an “art warren.” She loves bringing the public into her studio for classes—one recent student had years before received her green card just down the hall. When Tormey first encountered her space, she recalls, “It had a bureaucratic feel—awful gray carpet, dingy walls,” but after Farrazaino exposed the floors and painted it, Tormey compares it to “an artist’s loft in Paris.”


Despite what to artists seems like a remarkable transformation, Farrazaino says, “We’re doing a light touch with redevelopment.” The emphasis is on preserving the building’s history—not all of which is rosy. In addition to being the place where countless immigrants experienced the thrill of becoming American citizens, it also is a place of deep sadness for some families—the last stop before deportation. Farrazaino and the ownership group have no intention of ignoring what he terms the building’s “bipolar” history, and are working with the Wing Luke Asian Museum and other International District community groups on ways to respect the place’s darker past.


Signs of that legacy remain—in some cases literally. Labels designating detainee dormitories as “Chinese” (the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 severely limited such laborers from immigrating) or “white” (everybody else) still hang outside doors. Hands painted on a basement wall indicate where and how to stand while being frisked. Solitary confinement cells raise haunting questions about who was put inside, and why. The walls of the detainee recreation yard, a south-facing tiled plaza, are covered in graffiti—scrawled with tar found melting in the heat.


Farrazaino hopes to turn the recreation yard into a gardening space, where vegetables could be grown and donated to food banks in the International District. (“A reparation of sorts,” he says.) The large detainee dormitories would make excellent rehearsal spaces for dance companies. The swearing-in room? A black-box theater. At the front of the building, where the huddled masses awaited their chance at the American dream, plans call for a sculpture garden. Already the halls are filling with painters, guitar makers, photographers, choreographers, digital media makers, ceramists, actors, filmmakers, art therapists and others, all working to green card the old building’s new identity.

INSCAPE
International District
815 Airport Way S
inscapearts.org

 

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Corky Lee Interview By Jennifer Takaki (May 10, 2014) - YouTube

Corky Lee Interview By Jennifer Takaki & Conversation With Ze Min Xiao On The Historic Significance To The Chinese American Community of The Events of May 10...
John Jung's insight:

On May 10, 2014, the 145th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental rail at Promontory Point, Utah, activist Chinese American photographer Corky Lee organized over 200 Asian Americans to convene at Promontory Point to reenact the Golden Spike ceremony with only Asian Americans in the photograph. This act of "photographic justice", to use Corky's Lee term, was a symbolic way to offset the slight  of the Chinese whose labor made major contributions to the railroad completion.  For on May 10, 1869, not a single Chinese was invited to be in the historic photograph of the placement of the Golden Spike that represented the physical linking of the U. S. from coast to coast.

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Eric Liu – Memoir, “A Chinaman’s Chance: One Family’s Journey and the Chinese American Dream” | The Tavis Smiley Show

Eric Liu – Memoir, “A Chinaman’s Chance: One Family’s Journey and the Chinese American Dream” | The Tavis Smiley Show | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
RT @ericpliu: Thanks to @TavisSmiley for a great conversation about race, American identity & my new book. http://t.co/C3eB1Y8wjC
John Jung's insight:

Tavis Smiley interviews Eric Liu about his new memoir about the status of Chinese Americans today

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Chinatown | New Orleans, Encyclopedia of Louisiana

Chinatown | New Orleans, Encyclopedia of Louisiana | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
The entry provides an historical overview of New Orleans' Chinatown neighborhood, located on Tulane Avenue, active from the late 1880s through the 1930s.
John Jung's insight:

A history of the development and eventual decline of New Orlean's Chinatown that centered around the 1100 block of Tulane Ave. in the French Quarter.

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Chinese Roots Wiki

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A useful resource for "personal history' searches for Chinese Americans looking for family roots in China

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Not on the Menu: Corky Lee's Life and Work

One man's 40-year dedication to documenting the everyday life of Asian Americans and their fight for civil rights in New York City
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Documentary showcase of the 40 year photographic record of Chinese America by the noted activist-photographer Corky Lee.

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Guide to the Collection of Chinese Theater Images in California

John Jung's insight:

The Museum of Performance & Design, Performing Arts Library's online collection of 401 images related to Chinese Theater in California ranges from 1883-2004, although the majority of the photographs document performers and productions from the 1920s to late 1940s.

The photographs depict scenes from plays such as "Heavenly Kings" and "Princess Cheung Ping," staged at the Great China Theatre, Great Star Theatre, and other venues, shots of actors and actress such as Mei Lan-fang, Dai Ngow Lok, Ma Shi-tsang, Kwan Duk Hing, Sew Jow Lee, and Hall Fay Jing in costume, in the studio, or on stage portraying various characters such as Kuan Kung, Chu Ko-liang, and Sun Yat-sen, interiors and exterior shots of different theater buildings, and ceremonies and banquets honoring performers such as Mei Lan-fang.

A number of the photographs were taken by May's Studio. The materials were selected from four main sources -- the Wylie Wong Collection, Lois Rather Papers, Jack Chen Papers, and the Library's own Chinese Theater Collection.

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An American Story on Display at the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum

An American Story on Display at the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
Local preservationists are working hard to preserve a culturally distinct yet wholly American story in Mississippi.
John Jung's insight:

Preserving memories of the Chinese communities of the Mississippi Delta at the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum in Cleveland, MS.

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DetroitChinatown.org

DetroitChinatown.org | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
John Jung's insight:

A collection of newspaper clippings, interviews, documents related to the Detroit Chinatown from its beginnings to around 1960s.  No longer maintained or updated, but has valuable archival material collected by Chelsea Zuzindiak around 2008.

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Astoria's 'Garden of Surging Waves' set to open after winding journey

Astoria's 'Garden of Surging Waves' set to open after winding journey | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
It has taken nine years, $3 million -- a third of which was donated -- and at times, some thick skin to deal with the criticism of Astorians growing impatient. But today, most agree, this little park has been well worth the wait.
John Jung's insight:

 "Garden of Surging Waves" in Astoria, Oregon opened last week, Designed by Suenn Ho's, the site gives belated recognition to the pioneer Chinese who came in the late 1800s and helped develop the region even though they were mistreated badly. The project will be expanded and recognize the heritages of other ethnic groups in the region.

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Chinese Immigration and the Chinese in the United States

Information about NARA facilities nationwide.
John Jung's insight:

This government resource is vital for anyone seeking immigration files related to Chinese immigrants during the Chinese Exclusion era (1910-1943),  In summary, the site has links to:

 

a brief history of the Federal agency that created or received the records; the Regional Archives that holds the records;the specific source (usually the local office of a Federal agency) of the records;description(s) of the records including, whenever possible, date span, quantity, system of arrangement, availability and explanation of finding aids, reference to related microfilm publications, and other information useful to researchers.
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Washington State Historical Society: Middle School Curriculum on Chinese Exclusion

Washington State Historical Society: Middle School Curriculum on Chinese Exclusion | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
John Jung's insight:

This curriculum asks students to examine specific legislation and determine the stakeholders and parties involved, using the 1885 expulsion of Chinese people in Tacoma as a case study. Students are asked to define values and issues related to the events of the late 1880’s in their examination of this time period and its influence on Northwest communities. They will then examine the relevance of this subject to modern constitutional issues through classroom discourse and a position paper on a contemporary topic or a local manifestation of this Act.

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Video

Video | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
Rescued Memories | The Escape | Reflections | Passages Rescued Memories "Rescued Memories: NY Stories" 11/9 de Young Museum premiere - highlights (close) from Lenora Lee on Vimeo. "Rescued Memories...
John Jung's insight:

Lenora Lee is a dancer and choreographer who is artistic director of the Lenora Lee Dance Company, which has created several

 interdisciplinary works integrating dance, media design, martial arts, music, and text that share the still largely untold story of how Chinese struggled to immigrate to America and built a viable community under the extremely hostile conditions of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act only repealed in 1943. Occurring during the same historical period as Jim Crow in the South, The Act targeted a single nationality for exclusion, incarcerated those seeking entry to the US in the Angel Island detention center, tore families apart, unleashed widespread violence against Chinese throughout the Western US, and left a legacy of long term effects that remain unexplored. 

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Asian America in the Deep South

Asian America in the Deep South | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
Firsthand account of Harry Gong, who grew up in the back of a Chinese grocery store and has fond memories of Coca-Cola.
John Jung's insight:

Chinese in the South and Coca Cola often went 'hand in hand' especially in the hot and humid summer in the days before air conditioning was readily available.  Here are some reminiscences from the Mississippi Delta about the role of Coke in Southern hospitality.

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Peach love

Peach love | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
Even though I wilt easily during our hot summer days, I nonetheless look forward to the season of many of my favorite fruits and vegetables, among them, the peach. In
John Jung's insight:

Reflections on the historic China Alley in central California in Hanford by Arianne Wing.  She is a descendant (niece?) of the legendary Richard Wing, whose innovative chinoise cuisine, made the Imperial Dynasty Restaurant in remote Hanford a destination for celebrities from far and wide.

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China World Heritage List :: Kaiping Diaolou and Villages - YouTube

[http://www.world-heritage-site.com] Kaiping Diaolou and Villages feature the Diaolou, multi-storeyed defensive village houses in Kaiping, which display a co...
John Jung's insight:

Diaolou, multi-storeyed defensive village houses in Kaiping, served to protect villagers from bandits. They were built with funds remitted from émigré Kaiping  Chinese who had gone to earn a living in South Asia, Australasia and North America during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  

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Chinese-Canadian Genealogy - Basics

Chinese-Canadian Genealogy - Basics | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
John Jung's insight:

Although designed for Chinese Canadian genealogy, this outstanding site from the Vancouver, B. C. library is quite applicable for Chinese American roots,  Be sure to examine all the pages which provide additional details and links to other resources.

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You May Not Know About The First Chinese Americans, But You Should

You May Not Know About The First Chinese Americans, But You Should | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
It wasn't easy being Chinese American in the early days. From exclusionary laws to the racist caricatures that dotted newspaper comic pages, America wasn't exactly laying down the welcome mat.

And yet, there were success stories. The Chinese Ameri...
John Jung's insight:
Only a brief overview of some pioneering earlier Chinese Americans, but useful in attracting attention and appreciation from people unfamiliar with the difficult lives of Chinese in this country in the past
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The Other Side [Pacific Asia Museum] EXTENDED THROUGH AUGUST 17!

The Other Side [Pacific Asia Museum] EXTENDED THROUGH AUGUST 17! | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
Welcome to USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, California
John Jung's insight:

A collection of visual narratives about the Chinese and Mexican immigrant experiences. Through the works of five contemporary artists, we explore the recurring issues of immigration, border relations and labor practices that have persisted throughout U.S. history and remain timely today.

 

Artists featured include Zhi Lin, Hung Liu, Andrea Bowers, Tony de Los Reyes and Margarita Cabrera.

To view the exhibition brochure, click here.

Related Events

Artist Talk
Sunday, July 13 at 2 pm
In recent works, internationally acclaimed artist Zhi Lin has explored the experiences of 19th century Chinese railway workers.  His deeply moving drawings documenting the individual workers and geography of the Transcontinental Railway were featured in the museum exhibition Chinaman's Chance in 2008.

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Chinese immigrants helped build, feed early Nevada

Chinese immigrants helped build, feed early Nevada | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
On a stroll down Spring Mountain Road, there are many ways to immerse yourself in the Asian cultures it represents. The area is known as Chinatown, but it’s home to Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese eateries, shops and cultural amenities.
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Overview of Nevada's rich history of Chinese immigrants that has not received as much recognition as it deserves.

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Getting the Most Out of Heritage Quest

Here are the slides and screenshots that accompany my presentation on how to use Heritage Quest for genealogical research.
John Jung's insight:

An excellent slide presentation guide created by a reference librarian for using Heritage Quest (HQ), a useful resource for historical and genealogical research using the U. S. Census.  If your local library subscribes to HQ, you should be able to access it from your home computer via the Internet. It is a good alternative to the better known Ancestry.com database.

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Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial - YouTube

During the 1860's, it's estimated about 1200 Chinese died while building the Transcontinental railroad through the treacherous Sierra Nevadas. 2015 will mark...
John Jung's insight:

Background and rationale for plans to create a long overdue appropriate and artistic memorial to recognize the substantial contributions of Chinese railroad workers whose labors were a significant factor on the completion of the transcontinental railroad

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Chinese - Encyclopedia of Arkansas

John Jung's insight:

A brief history of Chinese on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River shows a similar background and experience to that of the more numerous Chinese in Mississippi along the delta.  

 

"Life for the Chinese grocery store owners (in Arkansas) was a simple one. In the early days, many families lived where they worked, sharing a back room as living quarters while they tended the store in the front. Their mostly African-American clientele and location in mostly black neighborhoods made them a target of racial discrimination. Some of the bachelors who married local women became targets for discrimination on both sides. However, unlike in other states in the South such as Mississippi, the Chinese in Arkansas enjoyed some privileges that were not afforded to other minorities. For example, some Chinese families sent their children to all-white schools and attended all-white church services. By this time, the Chinese had come to understand the power dynamics of the region, and many families presented themselves in a way to preserve this racial hierarchy."

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Brooklyn's Chinese Pioneers by Kay S. Hymowitz, City Journal Spring 2014

Brooklyn's Chinese Pioneers by Kay S. Hymowitz, City Journal Spring 2014 | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
Hardworking Fujianese immigrants use the borough as a launching pad to the middle class.
John Jung's insight:

The earliest Chinese immigrants to the U. S. came from Guangdong province but since the late 1960s, thousands of mostly poor and sometimes undocumented immigrants from the province of Fujian have crammed themselves into dorm-like quarters, working brutally long hours waiting tables, washing dishes, and cleaning hotel rooms—and sending their Chinese-speaking children to the city’s elite public schools and on to various universities. What started with a few hundred Fujianese pioneers a few decades ago is now New York City’s most populous Chinatown in Sunset Park section of Brooklyn—considerably larger than Manhattan’s and bigger even than Flushing’s Sunset Park bustles with Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants and stores..
Despite their poverty, and other adverse living situation, their children seem to be achieving success academically.... This article tries to explain how cultural factors make this possible.

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Di Zi Gui Web Page 弟子规网页,简体 - Tsoidug Website, Simplified Chinese

Di Zi Gui Web Page 弟子规网页,简体 - Tsoidug Website, Simplified Chinese | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
John Jung's insight:
A look at ancient principles of conduct that guided Chinese culture for centuries. Is it still relevant today? This site explains "Di Zi Gui" and maintains: "If left unarmed with some accurate knowledge of Chinese culture such as that provided by Di Zi Gui, Chinese children will grow up to be ashamed of their heritage, of their parents and eventually of themselves. Then they won't have the self esteem or inner strength necessary to become good, smart and capable persons. The Chinese cultural heritage is more than just kungfu, Chinese food, Chinese dress, or Chinese paintings. Even more important, Chinese culture also includes an intellectual heritage thousands of years old, an intellectual heritage of thought, philosophy, norms and mores, some important aspects of which are quite unique. It is exactly this intellectual part of Chinese culture that is most important to Chinese identity, pride and self-confidence."
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