Los Angeles Chinatown
Remembered Project

The Chinatown Remembered Project documents the history of Chinese Americans in Los Angeles in the 1930s and 1940s. This was a period of social and economic unrest across the Pacific region. Change was particularly profound for Chinese Americans in Los Angeles. In the 1930s during the depths of the depression, Los Angeles witnessed the destruction of Old Chinatown and its replacement by two new districts, China City and New Chinatown. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the city mobilized for war. The Second World War brought new industries, new opportunities, and new residents to the region, but it also saw the US government force tens of thousands of the city’s Japanese American residents into wartime incarceration camps. The lives of Chinese American youth who grew up in Los Angeles during this period were shaped by these global and local events. This project tells their story.

Community Members

Explore profiles of the generation of Chinese Americans who grew up in the 1930s and 1940s.

Neighborhoods

Visit the major neighborhoods that made up the Chinese American community of LA in the 1930s and 1940s.

Youth Activities 

Read about the activities this generation of Chinese Americans took part in for fun during the 1930s and 1940s.

World at War

Learn how the outbreak of a world war during the 1940s affected Chinese American individuals living in LA.

About the Chinatown Remembered Project

The CHSSC’s Chinatown Remembered Project documents Los Angeles Chinatown and the surrounding Chinese American communities as they developed in the 1930s and 1940s. Between 2007-2008, a group of college and high school interns documented the life histories of Chinese American elders who grew up in Los Angeles directly before and during World War II. The older generation shared their memories of this pivotal earlier period in Chinese American history. A more recent group of interns have transcribed, cleared, and catalogued these interviews. Many of the articles on this website were also written and researched by local youth: some by our college interns and others by members of the local Los Angeles Chinatown Youth Council (LACYC) of the Chinatown Service Center. Finally, our current project website was designed by one of our recent college interns. As a collaborative, community-based project, the Chinatown Remembered Project has two goals: our first goal is to challenge the absence of Chinese American voices in American archives through oral history and community documentation; our second equally important goal is to teach a younger generation the significance of doing Asian American community history in hopes that they will continue this work in the future.

Read the history of the Los Angeles Chinatown during the 30’s and 40’s →

This project was made possible, in part, by a grant from the California Council for the Humanities as part of the Council’s statewide California Stories Initiative. The Council is an independent non-profit organization and a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on the Council and the California Stories Initiative, visit www.californiastories.org