Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

[TIMELINE COMMENTARY] Chinese Immgrants' Proper Burials - Despite MTA's Efforts

Expand Messages
  • madchinaman
    The burial they deserved http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed- cemetery9apr09,1,6407955.story CHINESE IMMIGRANTS AND THEIR descendants have had
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 22, 2006
      The burial they deserved
      http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-
      cemetery9apr09,1,6407955.story


      CHINESE IMMIGRANTS AND THEIR descendants have had a long and unhappy
      relationship with Southern California's various rail systems. The
      first "coolies" were brought here after the Gold Rush to lay
      railroad track in slavery-like conditions, then faced decades of
      legalized discrimination, vigilante violence and withering workaday
      racism from the leading lights of local society. (Present company
      included: "The Chinese race," this newspaper editorialized in
      1900, "is the human mystery of the ages. What can we do with a
      people like that?")

      L.A.'s original Chinatown, after half a century of tenuous existence
      as a self-contained slum and black market for forbidden goods and
      services, was seized using eminent domain in the 1930s and razed to
      make way for Union Station, forcing 3,000 residents to start over
      elsewhere, their history literally paved over. Now the Metropolitan
      Transportation Authority has dug up Chinese bones and burial
      artifacts in Boyle Heights as part of its excavation work for the
      Gold Line extension. Members of the local Chinese American community
      say the MTA was too slow to tell them about this archeological
      discovery of cultural importance and historical shame.

      The remains of more than 100 humans, mostly Asian males, were
      discovered in June under the corner of Lorena and East 1st streets,
      along with various rice bowls, jade bracelets and opium pipes. But
      the MTA did not tell a local community review board until last month
      that most of the remains were of people of Asian descent.

      The Chinese Historical Society of Southern California believes that
      MTA diggers have stumbled upon a long-lost Chinese potter's field,
      in the shadow of the adjacent Evergreen Cemetery, which (like much
      of official Los Angeles) barred Chinese from its property a century
      ago. The society says it only heard about the find in late 2005
      through a whistle-blower on the site, and had to confront the MTA to
      receive affirmation.

      Adding insult to injury, historians touring the site found excavated
      Chinese headstones being used as decorative lawn ornaments. The MTA
      claims that part of the reason for its delay is that the skeletons
      needed to be examined by professional archeologists.

      The county Board of Supervisors last month ordered an investigation
      into why the MTA didn't realize its tunnel route stood a good chance
      of disrupting a known burial ground. It also announced that it is
      soliciting proposals for a memorial or historical exhibition about
      the site, and told the MTA (which it oversees) to provide "a
      dignified and fitting burial for these discovered remains, as well
      as future remains discovered through excavation." A proper reburial
      ceremony at Evergreen, with the highest-ranking public officials in
      attendance, is the least Los Angeles owes some of its hardest-
      working natives.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.