Essay The Changing Time of Sf Chinatown

Submitted By coffeemugism
Words: 2830
Pages: 12

Adley Tong
David Howard Pitney
Hist 17C
11th May 2013

Oral History Paper

The narrator whom I have interviewed is James Chuck; I do not have direct relation with him, but he was my Dad’s boss. Dr. Chuck is a very interesting figure. He was born in 1929 living his beginning life in Oakland. That put him squarely in the midst of the Great Depression. All through his childhood and adolescence, he grew up in the shadow of the Great Depression. As we all know, the Great Depression was not really lifted until the end of World War Two. The World War Two also marked a big step forward of social progress. Right up to the tumultuous yet colorful 1960s, Dr. Chuck drank full of the upheaval of the twentieth century in his formative year. Economic recovery of the 1950s, social reform of the Civil Right Movement, Hippie culture, anti-war campaign, and man’s landing of the moon of the 1960s. Of course, then came the economic boom of seventies and eighties, the crumbling of communism in the nineties that brought much hope, and soon the 911 tragedy which turn the mood of the whole world in darkness. He witnesses every step of the growth and decline of the twentieth century. The information below is taken from an interview on February 23rd, 2013 and a written supplement sent to me a week later. The train of thought is not necessary chronological here in this paper. This writer will comment along with the idea of historical development in Dr. James Chuck’s life. Historical development is in the making and is not static so commentaries will at times go beyond the chronological order of the life story. However, Dr. Chuck’s chronological life will still give a direction of historical movement. As Dr. Chuck was born in Oakland, he grew up, he grew up in San Francisco Chinatown. His early life pretty much centered on Chinatown. Even after he grew up and moved out Chinatown, he continued to work in a Chinatown church for his whole life and his extended family still attend the same Chinatown church even though some of the the family members are Anglo-Saxon and Jewish by descent. My focus of this paper would be documenting his life in Chinatown experiencing the changing scenes of America through the eyes of a highly educated American Chinese spending his whole life seeing through his unique vision. Dr. Chuck was born in 1929 after his parents migrate to Oakland, CA in the late 1920’s. His older brother was born in 1928 and do not have other siblings. They were living in a small apartment on Brooklyn Place near Chinatown in his childhood year. His father worked as a cook in a butcher shop in the morning, and at a noodle shop in the evening to support the family. His mother also works in a sewing factory which is equivalent to our modern day sweat shop. Their parents just did not have time or energy to take care of them not much beyond offering food and shelter. Like many of his peers, Dr. Chuck grew up to be professionals through the rather inadequate education system. Even in today’s system, Chinatown kids received their education beginning at Commodore Stockton School (Gordon P. Lew School), grew to Francisco Middle School, and eventually graduated from Galileo High School. It is fortunate that Dr. Chuck went to the Chinese School offered by San Francisco First Chinese Baptist Church for six years. Together with the aid of Chinatown YMCA’s service (which is just across the street from First Chinese Baptist Church), Dr. Chuck learned his ropes to be leaders there. In fact, he first encountered church when he was a child in the church’s nursery school. He grew up attending Sunday school on regular basis, gradually understanding what it means by Christian faith, and developed leadership skills. As he was learning and growing, the church has been the center of his life. He learned leadership skills and at the same time he earned and gained respect in the church not as a Chinese but a human being. In the interview, he has mentioned no less…