Hidden Histories: Deconstructing the Astorian Chinese Experience

October 30, 2021 | 11:00 a.m. | Virtual Event

Online, statewide & beyond

The Portland Chinatown Museum is pleased to announce the eighth program in the Hidden Histories: Oregon's Early Chinatowns and Chinese Worker Settlements series. Please join us on Saturday, October 30, 2021, with featured speakers Dr. Chelsea K. Vaughn, Liisa Penner, and Suenn Ho. RSVP here.

In 1870, Astoria had thirteen Chinese residents. A decade later, that number had grown to 1,208 in Astoria proper, with an additional 924 individuals in what was then described as “Upper Astoria,” at the east end of town. Countywide, there were 2,317 residents of Chinese descent, accounting for a full one-third of Clatsop County’s population. The recruitment of laborers to work in the fish canneries accounted for a majority of this growth, but this period also saw an influx of Chinese merchants, whose businesses would cater to both the local Chinese community as well as the broader population of Astoria.

Increased mechanization within the canneries combined with exclusionary laws would greatly reduce the number of Chinese laborers living in Astoria by century’s end, and in the years that followed, the full scope of this history would be minimized and the poor treatment experienced by many in the community would be obscured. For our panel, we will look at this larger history, question what it means for this history to be deliberately forgotten, and examine the experiences of the small Chinese American community that remained.

This program is made possible in part by a grant from Oregon Humanities.

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Portland Chinatown Museum




Kapiolani Lee at kapiolani@portlandchinatown.org