Plaque honors forgotten Chinese residents

The city has installed a plaque so current Boyle Heights residents can honor and pay their respects to Chinese residents who were not given equal burial treat meant back in the 1800’s. The plaque is in English, Spanish and Chinese and it gives a little history about Evergreen Cemetery, some history on some of the more prominent deceased Chinese residents resting in the cemetery and why the plaque was placed there. Which is to acknowledge the wrong doings of the past so that the bodies that were found during the Linia de Oro construction can also rest in peace as well. I came across it yesterday evening walking my dogs. They should be finished by today because the plaque still had pieces of wood holding it in place. As I stopped to read it most people didn’t bother to read was on the plaque and only guessed at what it was. Then there are those who just say stupid, racist things and choose to completely ignore the importance of such a plaque. None the less, it’s good to see that they’re getting the respect they deserve and that even though racism and classicism are still around, they’re not as bad as they use to be back in the day.

11 thoughts on “Plaque honors forgotten Chinese residents

  1. I absolutely hate how widespread prejudice against the Chinese is present in Latinos. I hated it as a kid and hate it to this day. No “Chino” jokes would fly by me since I’d immediately knock them down. Doing so would demean the friendships I’ve had with people of Chinese descent my whole life.

    It’s great to see this put up. Many don’t realize how racist the USA has been towards the Chinese throughout history.

  2. A little history about the plaque: During the construction of the linea de oro some bones and relics were uncovered in an area not clearly marked as graves. This was because the Chinese were not allowed to be buried in the same graveyard as other folks. So an area not technically part of the graveyard was designated for Chinese.

    The study for digging the new linea de oro was not able to find where the Chinese were located. So it came as a surprise to find bones supposedly outside of the Evergreen Cemetery. Fortunately an anomyous whistleblower contacted the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California for MTA to make amends for a bit of cover up. The plaque is part of the settlement with the Chinese American community.

  3. A little bit more to the story—-muralists that were working on scaffolds (across at the Mercadito) could clearly see that the Metro workers were carrying out body bags from the excavation. The Metro people told the artists not to say anything about it—but when the artists were approached by the press, they told the truth. Seemed that if there had not been concerned eyewitnesses, the discovery of these bodies buried under the first street pavement, may have gone unnoticed.

  4. I think it’s great that these people get the remembrance they deserve.
    I haven’t encountered a very widespread prejudice toward Asians by Latinos. Yeah, I have heard the typical Chinese jokes that were widespread in the U.S. itself. But Chicanos/Mexicans have long lived among Chinese and Koreans, and sometimes Japanese in the city. And out in the fields, Chicanos/Mexicans have very strong ties to Filipinos.

    Back in the 90s in South Central, you didn’t see that same tension between Koreans and Latinos like you did between Blacks and Koreans.

    I always enjoy seeing Mexican and Chinese immigrants interact cordially in Chinatown and Echo Park. You go to Mexicali, Mexico, and there are many Chinese there. I’ve noticed a lot of good interaction instead of prejudice. But then again, the past isn’t as good. In Mexicali, there was a lot more Chinese, but they got persecuted by Mexicans at the same time the US was doing the same thing. Kicking them out and seizing their land. Same thing happened to the Japanese in Tijuana.

  5. I pass by the cemetery everyday on my way home. During the construction of “la linea de oro” I often wondered how it was possible to widen the street without disturbing any part of the cemetery. While I am glad to see that a plaque has been installed to honor the dead, I wonder if this is just a way to ease the conscience of City Officials for what really happened at this excavation site.

  6. Like this post and thread — and frank discussion re racism in the Latino community aimed towards Chinese. Sometimes towards all Asians in general. We know it goes the other way, too. To some Asians, all Latinos might be seen as Mexicano. Well, race isn’t an easy issue, it’s the worst in America of all the hot issues — how many of us can tell a Turkish person from a Lebanese from a Syrian from an Iraqi?

    I’m Japanese American, born and raised in central LA. Virgil, Belmont High, CSLA, feel very lucky to have had friends of all colors and names — McFarland (black dude pal), the Guzmans (two Chicano bros from Dogtown) Wally the White Guy, Dennis my Flip friend, Steve of Chinatown. We all got along.

    We joked about the jokes because we were 1/friends of diff races who got along during the roughest times of the Sixties. And we knew and celebrated it. 2/Because we knew of the racism around us. “Chino, chino, Japones…”. We’d all heard it.

    I currently live in Echo Park. I lived for 10 years up in City Terrace. Im comfortable all over the central parts of our city because of my oldtime pals of many colors. I sometimes feel weird in Santa Monica, or Van Nuys or in parts of LA that are mono-cultural. Jewish, Latino, white, whatever. Peeps should get a mix on. Or the bad jokes live on.

    Thanks again,
    Darrell K.

  7. Actually, the discovery of the human remains (and artifacts) were reported to the Coroner and Dept. of Consumer Affairs (DCA) shortly after discovery as required by law. Since it was apparent that the remains were part of a historical (dedicated) cemetery and a cemetery that has had its’ boundaries changed over the years, neither the Coroner or DCA needed to be involved. The only legal requirement was for the contractor to rebury the remains within a dedicated cemetery at their expense. It then became more than that when different factions became involved. Chinese remains were discovered during the construction of the new building near Union Station several years ago…I do not recall if it was a DWP or DOT building.

  8. Excuse me if I’m wrong but didn’t the foreign born Chinese wish to be buried where they were born? And weren’t the Irish the instigators of anti-chinese sentiment that denied jobs to Chinese immigrants?
    And didn’t the US Supreme Court in 1886 decide in favor of a Chinese laundry owner under the Equal Protection Clause in Yo Wick v. Hopkins? Remarkable how history is politically appropriate isn’t it? Oh, and the Irish generally refused to fight in the War with Mexico, because the Mexicans were generally Catholic.

  9. yes, you’re right — they did indeed desire to be returned home, once deceased — they were so damn poor they were buried here.

    Chinaman’s chance was slim.

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