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A Bill Moyers Special - Becoming American: The Chinese ExperienceImage: Becoming AmericanPBS


Local Portraits

The Chinese Experience
Local Resources
It Happened Here

About the Program

It Happened Here

This primer of Chinese-American history in New York is provided by the Museum of Chinese in the Americas.

1846 - New York Harbor
The Chinese boat Kee Ying sails into New York Harbor from Canton with a crew of 35. During the summer, a reported 50,000 New Yorkers visit the Kee Ying.

1870s - New York Area
Chinese immigrants arrive in significant numbers. With anti-Chinese violence mounting in the West, Chinese begin creating Chinatown enclaves for protection.

1878 - Wo Kee
New York's first Chinese grocery store, Wo Kee, opens on Mott Street.

1883 - Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) is begun by wealthy merchants who know the English language. They serve as unofficial "mayors" for Chinese residents on matters dealing with outsiders. Originally located at 16 Mott Street, it moves to 62-64 Mott Street in 1959.

1890s - Quong Yuen Shing
Located at 32 Mott Street and opened in the 1890s, Quong Yuen Shing is the oldest continually operated store in Chinatown.

1893 - 5-7 Doyers Street
From 1893 until 1913, 5-7 Doyers Street is home to the Chinese Concert Company and the first Chinese theater in New York.

1962 - Kim Lau Memorial Arch
The arch is built in memory of Chinese Americans who died in World War II. It is erected by the American Legion Kim Lau Memorial Post 1291.

1965/68 - New York Chinatown
The racial quota system for immigration is abolished. A new influx of Chinese immigrants arrive, and Chinatown expands rapidly.

1980 - New York Chinatown
The government census indicates that New York Chinatown is the largest Chinese-American settlement in the U.S.