CSUSB students help to preserve Riverside’s Chinatown
Students enrolled in a history class at Cal State San Bernardino are seeking individuals to interview who have first-hand memories of Riverside’s Chinatown.
In an effort to prevent the destruction of the archaeological site and preserve the historical landmark, the students in an oral history class, taught by CSUSB history professor Cherstin Lyon, are collaborating with Riverside’s “Save Our Chinatown” committee to record residents’ memories of Riverside’s Chinatown.
“This is a perfect way for our students to learn how to record oral history,” said Lyon. “They want to interview those who have knowledge of Chinatown’s past and record it in a way that’s meaningful.
“By telling the residents’ stories, ‘Memories of Chinatown’ is one way to engage the public and raise awareness of the committee’s project,” Lyon said.
The students are especially seeking individuals who have first-hand memories of its last resident, George Wong. Declared as Riverside’s Chinatown by the Riverside County Historical Commission in 1968, Wong was present to unveil the historical landmark.
Miranda Olivas and Moriah Schnose are two of the CSUSB students currently documenting the interviews for this project. Both had previously taken another history course with Lyon, whose passion for oral history inspired them to help with the “Save Our Chinatown” project.
“Partnering with Riverside’s project is a great opportunity to incorporate what we learned last quarter into helping our community,” said Schnose, a junior history major.
Schnose said that preserving the archaeological site is important to the Chinese immigrants who initially settled in Riverside.
“It is an integral part of the historical evidence impacted by U.S. immigration laws, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882,” she said.
Olivas, a senior history major, said, “I grew up in Riverside and appreciate the city’s unique community, history and the enriching educational opportunities the city promotes.”
“If we can interview people who have wonderful memories of Riverside’s Chinatown, we have more power in saving the historic landmark,” said Olivas.
Despite the Riverside Chinatown designation as a city and state landmark, its standing as a county point of historical interest, and being listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the site remains threatened.
The city of Riverside and the Riverside County Board of Education, which owns the site, have been negotiating plans to allow a private developer to build a medical office building on the site.
After Wong’s death in 1974, the last standing structures of Chinatown were demolished by the city of Riverside. But the basements of the historic structures remain buried, along with rich archaeological treasures.
Sample excavations conducted in 1984-1985 drew national and international attention to Riverside’s Chinatown, revealing thousands of artifacts that contributed significantly to scholars’ understanding of Chinese American communities.
If you are interested in telling your story through a recorded interview, contact professor Cherstin Lyon at (909) 537-3836 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the effort to preserve the history of Riverside’s Chinatown, visit the Save Riverside Chinatown Facebook page.
Above text from:
CSUSB students help to preserve Riverside’s Chinatown April
Links to News Items:
CSUSB students help to preserve Riverside’s Chinatown April 15,
RIVERSIDE: Chinese ancestors honored at grave ceremony April 13,
RIVERSIDE: 5th Annual Ching Ming at Olivewood Memorial Park
[photo gallery] April 14, 2013 (?)
Ceremony to honor Chinese pioneers April 12, 2013
Women in Preservation: M. Rosalind Sagara and the California
Riverside Chinatown Community March 25th, 2013
Save Our Chinatown Committee in Riverside, Calif.: An
Interview with Judy Lee, University of California, Riverside
Librarian Jan 9, 2013
USC architecture student fights to save Chinatown December 10,
Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2012: Judy Young In Riverside
Fall 2012 see page 5
Riverside: Cool Historical Items Auctioned to Save Chinatown
January 28, 2013
Asian Pacific Librarians Association Interview January 9, 2013
RIVERSIDE: Traditional Chinese ceremony observed
Press Enterprise April 1,
4th Annual Ching Ming Ceremony Honors Riverside’s Chinese
Pioneers [ Press Release: ] March 28, 2012
RIVERSIDE: Ruling throws out approval of Chinatown building.
March 27, 2012
RIVERSIDE: Chinatown appeal ruling is a reversal Press
Enteprise October 27, 2011
Steps Toward Victory for Campaign to Preserve Riverside’s
historic Chinatown [ Press Release ] October 27, 2011
From Gold Mountain to Orange Farm: How the Chinese Shaped
California's Citrus Industry KCET.org July 13, 2011
Buried History of Riverside's Chinese Immigrants Threatened
by Development KCET.org July 15,2011
The Last Resident KCET.org. August 5, 2011
Activists fight to preserve Riverside's Chinatown site.
Los Angeles Times. 6/26/2011
Riverside’s Historic Chinatown Chosen as Top 100 in National
Challenge: Public online vote to decide winner 5/31/2011
Riverside Chinatown" News and Notes December 2010, Chinese
Historical Society of Southern California. See p. 4.
"When do 'Model Minorities' stand up and fight? The battle for
Riverside's Chinatown continues" by Judy Lee. Riverside JACL
Newsletter December, 2010
A look back: Working to save Chinatown
"Today's Mystery, Tomorrow's History"
News and Notes [Chinese
Historical Society of Southern California Newsletter] June 2010
"Group gathering at cemetery to honor Riverside's Chinese pioneers"
by David Olsen Press Enterprise April 4, 2010
“Throwdown in Chinatown,” by Erin Tobin, Inland Empire Magazine,
"Chinese Americans fight for preservation of historic
Riverside Chinatown site" Xinhua News
September 24, 2009
"Apology to Chinese, though some expect more efforts to follow",
Monday, September 14, 2009
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by Alicia Robinson, The Press-Enterprise, Saturday,
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Old Riverside Foundation,
message about the struggle to save Chinatown. ORF Newsletter,
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something: The state’s regret for the way past generations treated
Chinese immigrants may help heal hurts that have festered for
decades.” Los Angeles Times Editorial July 25, 2009
“California Apologizes to Chinese Americans”
TIME, July 22, 2009 On July 17, the California legislature approved
a landmark bill to apologize to the state’s Chinese American
community for racist laws enacted as far back as the mid–19th
century. The legislation was co-sponsored by State Assembly members
Paul Fong and Kevin de Leon.
Judge’s tentative Chinatown findings leave both sides with questions
The Riverside Press-Enterprise
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rules The Press-Enterprise May 19, 2009
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Archaeological Site is Under Assault,” by Scott L. Fedick,
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(Reprinted with permission.)
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Pacific Citizen March 29, 2009
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Tale of Two Sinkholes
DAN BERNSTEINThe Riverside Press-Enterprise
- March 13, 2009
Judge Orders Work Halted for Project at Riverside’s Second Chinatown
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Riverside, CA Judge Issues Temporary
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New Year Celebration part of Local Revival February 6, 2010
Chinese New Year Banquet to Start with a Bang January 26, 2010
from the Los Angeles Lodge of the Chinese American Citizens
Alliance, in support of a Riverside Chinatown Historical Park
Riverside Chinatown Trial Thursday July 6, 2009
TRIAL July 2009
PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION UPHELD May 13, 2009
Injunction Hearing Friday March 19, 2009
Temporary Restraining Order Granted For Riverside’s Historic
Chinatown February 24, 2009
CHING MING FESTIVAL IN RIVERSIDE February 2009
City to Vote on Controversial Discard
Policy for Riverside’s Historic Chinatown Archaeological Site February 5, 2009
Gala Chinese New Year Banquet Sold
Out January 23, 2009
Ticket Deadline for Chinese New
Year Banquet Approaches January 16, 2009
Major Damage Sparks Legal Action February 2009
Lawsuit Filed Against Planned
Building on Riverside Chinatown Site November 6, 2008