Roots: Asian American Movements in Los Angeles 1968-80s
Who is “Asian American”? How did we come into this shifting and expansive idea?
Contrary to popular perception, it is an identity defined out of protest. Starting in the 1960s, a group of young activists shaped “Asian America” through a long decade of fighting displacement, serving their communities, agitating for revolution, and analyzing the intersections of gender, race, and class. From Little Tokyo to Chinatown to Historic Filipinotown to the West Side, in solidarity with Latino, Black, feminist, and international struggles, Los Angeles saw the rise of vibrant artistic and political movements.
Roots: Asian American Movements in Los Angeles 1968-80s is the first exhibition to collect and present this history, arguing that the past helps give meaning to the present and future of our communities.
Origins: The Birth and Rise of Chinese American Communities in Los Angeles
Origins: The Birth and Rise of Chinese American Communities in Los Angeles, a permanent, cutting edge exhibition celebrating the growth and development of Chinese American enclaves from Downtown Los Angeles to the San Gabriel Valley.
This exhibit narrates Chinese immigration to the United States with an emphasis on community settlement in Los Angeles. The display is outlined into four distinct time periods. Each period is defined by an important immigration law and event, accompanied by a brief description and a short personal story about a local Chinese American and their experiences in that particular historical period.
Sun Wing Wo General Store and Herb Shop
This exhibition is a recreation of an actual store that was housed in the Garnier Building in the 1890’s. The Sun Wing Wo store opened in 1891 and remained in this building until 1948. The store was a multi-purpose space that showed how self-sufficient the Chinese were and had to be due to racism and discrimination, while also being responsive to the needs of their community. Even though the store predominantly served the Chinese, there were European, Japanese, and Mexican Americans who also came to purchase Chinese merchandise.
On one side of the gallery, people can find merchandise sold at the general store such as food, clothing, furniture, firecrackers, and dishes; they can also find western products that were popular at the time such as cigars and perfumed soaps. The store also provided banking, postal, and letter writing services for the community.
On the other side of the gallery, the Museum recreated the herb shop where Chinese could practice their traditional form of healthcare – Chinese Medicine. There were acupuncture services and prescriptions of herbal remedies provided.