- Chinatown, Oakland, California
name =Oakland's Chinatown
image_caption = Legendary Palace restaurant at the corner of Franklin and 7th st in Oakland.
map_caption =Location of Oakland's Chinatown in the City of Oakland.
dot_x = |dot_y =
pushpin_map_caption =Location within California
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Alameda
subdivision_type3 = Metro Area
subdivision_name3 = the
San Francisco Bay Area
subdivision_type4 = City
government_type =City council district 2
leader_title =City council rep
leader_name =Pat Kernighan
established_title = Settled
established_date = 1850
established_title1 = Annexed
established_date1 = 1852
timezone = PST
utc_offset = -8
timezone_DST = PDT
utc_offset_DST = -7
latd=37 |latm=47 |lats=57 |latNS=N
longd=122 |longm=16 |longs=17 |longEW=W
postal_code_type = ZIP code
blank_name =BART Stations
Oakland City Center/12th Street, Lake Merritt
AC TransitBus routes
blank1_info =1, 1R, 11, 12, 14, 15, 18, 40, 51, 62, 63, 72, 88, 59, O
website = [http://www.oaklandchinatownchamber.org/ Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce]
footnotes = The Chinatown neighborhood in
Oakland, Californiais a pan- Asian neighborhoodwhich reflects Oakland's diverse Asian Americancommunity. It is frequently referred to as "Oakland Chinatown" in order to distinguish it from nearby San Francisco's Chinatown.
Chinese were the first Asians to arrive in Oakland in the 1850s, followed by Japanese in the 1890s, Koreans in the 1900s, and Filipinos in the 1930s-1940s.
Southeast Asians began arriving in the 1970s during the Vietnam War. Many Asian languagesand dialects can be heard in Chinatown due to its diverse population.
Chinatown is located in downtown Oakland, with its center at 8th Street and Webster Street. Its northern edge is 12th street, and its southern edge is
I-880(located approximately at 6th Street). It stretches from Broadway on the west to the southern tip of Lake Merrittin the east.
Oakland Chinatown dates back to the arrival of Chinese immigrants in the 1850s, making it one of the oldest
Chinatowns in North America. By 1860, the census of Oakland included 96 "Asiatics" among a total of 1,543. More Chinese arrived to help build the Central Pacific Railroadwestern portion of the First Transcontinental Railroadduring the 1860s.
The Chinese settled in shrimp camps on the
estuaryof Oakland at 1st Street and Castro in the 1850s, near the Point in West Oakland which was referred to as "Chinese Point", and at 4th and Clay Streets. The Chinese settlement at Telegraph between 16th and 17th Streets burnt down in 1867 and was relocated at the San Pablo AvenueChinatown between 19th and 20th Streets; it is now known as Oakland's Old Uptown Chinatown. [ [http://www.uptownchinatown.org/ Oakland's Old Uptown Chinatown] ] Other areas settled were 14th Street between Washington and Clay, and the Charter line (22nd Street) between Castro and Brush Streets.
Fears of the Yellow Peril and local exclusion laws forced the Chinese population to resettle to its current location centered at 8th Street and Webster Street in the 1870s.
The first Chinese in Oakland fished in the
San Francisco Bayfor shrimpsimilarly to the Chinese at China Camp near San Rafael. [ [http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=466 China Camp State Park] ] In 1868, Chinese laborers built the Temescal Dam in Oakland providing water for the East Bay as well as the Lake ChabotDam in 1874-75. They worked in canneries, cotton mills and fuse and explosive factories as well as farms. In the 1880s, discriminatory laws made it difficult for Chinese immigrants to own land or even find work. They found work as laundryworkers, cooks, gardeners, houseboys, or as vegetable peddlers. The Chinese Exclusion Act severely limited the further immigration of Chinese. By 1900, the Chinese in Oakland numbered less than 1,000.
1906 San Francisco earthquakeand fire destroyed most of San Francisco's Chinatown and more than 4000 Chinese survivors found refuge in Oakland. Even while San Francisco Chinatown was rebuilding, many stayed in Oakland bringing the Chinatown population to about 2,500. Because of immigration restrictions barring Chinese women and children, a bachelorsociety was created.
In the 1920s, Oakland Chinatown grew from 10th Street to the waterfront from Broadway to Harrison.
Even until 1940, the Chinatown population grew only to about 3,000. With the United States involvement in
World War IIand the fact that China was an ally, the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943, however the immigration quota was maintained at 105 immigrants per year.Fact|date=March 2008
In 1950, Chinatown grew to a population of 5,500, but local housing was lost due to the construction of
Interstate 880, which runs through 8 blocks between 5th and 6th Streets and serves as a transportation artery for some of Chinatown's commercial activity, Laney College(8 blocks) and later in the late 1960s, the Bay Area Rapid Transitheadquarters and Lake Merritt station (2 blocks) and Oakland Museum of California(4 blocks).
Oakland Chinatown was economically stagnant for many years, especially after multigenerational Chinatown residents began moving to the suburbs in the late 1960s. However, Chinatown saw much steady development during the 1980s and 1990s as Chinese American merchants relocated from San Francisco to Oakland, and due to increased immigration from mainland China,
Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. During this time period, many ethnic Chinese Vietnamese and Chinese Cambodians began opening new small businesses, essentially replacing many of the older Taishanese-dominated businesses. Also, investors with Hong Kong backgrounds constructed the Pacific Renaissance Plaza in the 1980's. Chinatown still retains the traditional aspects and characteristics of an older Chinatown. Oakland's Chinatown also includes a historic and still thriving fortune cookie factory.
Although it is overshadowed by its more prominent, tourist-oriented counterpart in San Francisco, Oakland's Chinatown is bustling with activity and considered to be more authentic to many. Other Asian cultures are represented in Oakland's Chinatown as it has also been settled by non-Chinese Asians such as ethnic Vietnamese (many of whom operate many of Chinatown's
jewelrybusinesses), Koreans, and Thais making it more of a pan-Asian area as opposed to a "Chinatown." As is the case with other retail and commercial districts around Oakland, the many customers and thriving businesses in Chinatown generate sales tax revenue for Oakland city and RedevelopmentAgency coffers.
Japanese immigrants began settling in Oakland in the 1890s mostly in West Oakland around Market Street. Later, hundreds were living in the section between Harrison and Oak Streets south of 8th Street. They owned several stores in Chinatown. After the
attack on Pearl Harborin 1941, all Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps. The Masuda family had posted a large "I Am An American" sign outside their Oakland grocery store, Wanto Company, at 8th and Franklin Street. [ [http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft138n9812/ "I Am An American" photo by Dorothea Lange] ] Many did not return to Oakland after the war ended. The Buddhist Church of Oakland is one of the few institutions remaining of Oakland's Japantown. [ [http://www.buddhistchurchofoakland.org Buddhist Church of Oakland website] ]
People and culture
The residents of Oakland Chinatown include Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, Japanese, Cambodian, Laotian, Mien, Thai, Samoan and others. Consequently, many languages and dialects can be heard, including Cantonese, Chiu-Chow, Ilocano, Japanese, Khmer, Khmu, Korean, Lao, Malay, Mandarin, Mien, Tagalog, Taiwanese, Thai, Toishan, and Vietnamese.
Annual cultural events and fairs
Chinese New Year(also known as Lunar New Year or Vietnamese Têt).
Dragon boat races are held annually at Jack London Squareor Treasure Island, California
*The Oakland Chinatown StreetFest has been held on the 4th weekend of August annually since 1988. [ [http://www.oaklandchinatownstreetfest.com/ Oakland Chinatown StreetFest website] ]
Mid-Autumn Festival(also known as Moon Festival or Vietnamese Tết Trung Thu).
Chinese operawas one of the first traditional Chinese art forms in Oakland. In 1907, a Chinese Theater at 9th and Franklin Streets opened which could seat 500 people and had a company of 30 full-time actors from China. Today, three styles of Chinese opera clubs are active in Oakland: Cantonese opera. Beijing opera, and Kunqu.
The Asian Branch Library is one of many of Oakland Public Library's branches and is located in Chinatown's "Pacific Renaissance Plaza." [ [http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/Branches/asian.html Asian Branch Library website] ] The Asian Library is unique among public library branches in the United States as it houses eight Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian, Tagalog and Laotian) in major reference titles and general subject titles, an Asian Studies collection and an in-depth Asian American collection in English.
The Asian Branch Library was founded in 1975 as part of a Federal Library Services Construction Act grant to create a model library serving the Asian community in Oakland with multilingual staff and collections. In 1978, the branch moved from its original location at the Park Boulevard to the Main Library. In 1981, it moved to its own building at 9th street and Broadway. The current location in the Pacific Renaissance Plaza opened to the public in 1995.
Notable natives and residents
Bruce Lee, martial artist, actor
Fred Korematsuresisted, and then challenged in court, the forced internment of Japanese Americans during World War II (See Korematsu v. United Statesfor more information.)
Rodney Yee, yoga instructor
Amy Tan, author
Dong Kingman(1911-2000), watercolorist, created paintings for " Flower Drum Song" and " The World of Suzie Wong"
Charles Goodall Lee(1881-1973), dentist, first licensed Chinese dentist who financed the lodge building of the Chinese American Citizens Alliancein Oakland
Lew Hing(1858-1934), tycoon, founded successful cannery building an empire in banking, shipping, and real estate
Frank Chin, writer
March Fong Eu, politician
Matt Fong, politician
Ben Fong-Torres, journalist, author, radio personality
Maxine Hong Kingston, writer of " The Woman Warrior" and "China Men"
Wendy Yoshimura, watercolor artist
William Wong, journalist and author
Oakland Chinatown (8th and Webster Streets) is located at 37°47'57" North, 122°16'17" West (37.799252, -122.27145).
Elevationis about 34 feet above sea level.:* Mapit-US-cityscale|37.799252|-122.27145
Chinatown is located in Downtown between Broadway to the west,
Interstate 880to the south, Oak Street and Laney Collegeto the east, and 12th Street to the north. The entrance to the Webster Tube, which carries traffic underneath the estuary, is on the edge of Chinatown. Unlike many Chinatowns, it has no formal arch( Paifang) or gate, but it does have bilingualstreet signs.
The neighborhood can be roughly divided into two distinct areas: Between Broadway and Harrison Street is the commercial area, with busy streets lined with markets, restaurants, banks, and other businesses. East of Harrison Street, the neighborhood is more residential in character with more apartments and condominiums, less crowded sidewalks, and a mix of retail stores that are more service and product oriented, with less groceries and restaurants. Though the mainstay of commercial activity is south of 10th Street, there are nonetheless many retail shops, stores, and restaurtants north of 10th Street and in other parts of Downtown Oakland which are owned by Chinese and Korean merchants. In particular at the edge of Chinatown, 14th street between Webster and Harrison is block which features numerous Korean restaurants and businesses, especially on the north side of the block.
Recent immigrants have also moved south into "New Oakland Chinatown" in the San Antonio neighborhood along International Boulevard (formerly East 14th Street) and Eastlake business district on East 18th Street.
United States Senaterepresented by Dianne Feinsteinand Barbara Boxer
United States House of RepresentativesDistrict 9 represented by Barbara Lee
California State AssemblyDistrict 16 represented by Sandré Swanson[http://www.assembly.ca.gov]
California State SenateDistrict 9 represented by Don Perata
*** Alameda County District 3 (Fruitvale, San Antonio, Chinatown portions of Oakland, San Leandro, Alameda, San Lorenzo, Ashland, Hillcrest Knolls) represented by Alice Lai-Bitker [ [http://www.co.alameda.ca.us/board/district3/index.htm About Alice Lai-Bitker - District 3 - Board of Supervisors - Alameda County] ]
Oakland City Council[ [http://www.oaklandnet.com/government/council/city-officials.html City of Oakland Officials] ] District 2 (Grand Lake-Chinatown) [ [http://www.oaklandnet.com/oit/CDST/pdf/ccd2.pdf City Council District 2 map] ] which is represented by Pat Kernighanwho narrowly defeated Amy Allison in the November, 2006 run-off election.
Police and fire
The Oakland Police Department's Administration Building is located at 455 Seventh St.
Chinatown is in Oakland Police Department's Beat 3X. [ [http://www.oaklandpolice.com/youroff/beat3X.html Beat 3x website] ] The Community Services Section hosts the Asian Advisory Committee on Crime and the Asian Youth Services Committee. [ [http://asianyouth.org/ Asian Youth Service Committee] ] [ [http://www.oaklandpolice.com/deptorg/bfocomm.html Community Services Section at http://oaklandpolice.com] ]
The Chinatown Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council for beat 3x, a neighborhood
community-policingboard meets monthly. Meetings are conducted in Cantonese and are open to all.
Oakland Fire Department, Engine Company No. 12 is located at 822 Alice Street at 9th Street. [ [http://www.oaklandnet.com/oakweb/fire/index.html Oakland Fire Department: Home] ] Fire engine 2552 is assigned to this
fire station. The citizens of Oakland and the Oakland Fire Department will remember the service and sacrifice of Oakland Engine Company No. 12. Hoseman Tracy Toomey who died in the line of duty on January 10, 1999 in a 2 story building collapse after responding to a 6 alarm fire on upper Broadway.
Located at the crossroads of the 880 freeway, the tubes linking Alameda and Oakland, and downtown, Oakland Chinatown bears a significant transportation burden that dates back to the 1950s. Weekday and everyday commerce in the area creates thousands of peak period private automobile trips daily and resulting air pollution impacts on the neighborhood's elderly residents. Over 20,000 shoppers and tourists use its sidewalks every weekend. The traffic on I-880 is over 100,000 cars per day. The neighborhood is served by a freeway on-ramp to I-880 south at 5th and Oak Street. It is also is served by a freeway on-ramp to I-980 at 6th and Jackson. Recently Oakland's Public Works Agency reconfigured travel lanes on Jackson Street to separate traffic travelling South on Jackson from traffic merging-into Jackson from Eastbound 7th Street. This effectively eliminated, through lane re-marking, any possibility of the lost art of the "alternating merge." The volume of automobile traffic travelling away from the core of Chinatown on 7th street towards the
freewayconnections was so voluminous and unrelenting, that accidents were occurring.
Chinatown has the highest number of automobile-pedestrian collisions in the City of Oakland. A pedestrian safety campaign brought in the first scramble system in Alameda County to Oakland Chinatown to prevent further pedestrian fatalities and injuries. [ [http://www.tsc.berkeley.edu/html/res_PS_scramble.html UC Berkeley Pedestrian scramble evaluation] ] [Allyson K. Bechtel, Kara E. MacLeod, and David R. Ragland, "Oakland Chinatown Pedestrian Scramble: An Evaluation" (December 17, 2003). U.C. Berkeley Traffic Safety Center. Paper UCB-TSC-RR-2003-06.http://repositories.cdlib.org/its/tsc/UCB-TSC-RR-2003-06]
Until recently, California Auto Insurance company actuarial models charged higher rates to residents in the Chinatown's zip code under a practice known as
territorial rating, or zip code profiling. The insurance actuarial theory behind this market practice purports that drivers residing or "principally garaging" their cars in a certain area face a greater loss and accident ratio. This practice, was outlawed by California voters in 1988 by Proposition 103 on the statewide ballot. The law made its way through the courts for 18 years before several insurance companies settled with California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendiin 2006 to put an end to the practice.
Oakland is served by several
AC Transitbus lines which run on 7th, 8th, 11th, 12th, Broadway, and Franklin Streets. Many visitors to the neighborhood use nearby mass transit connections. The neighborhood has two BARTstations: 12th Street Station on its northwest corner, and Lake Merritt Station at its eastern edge.
Primary and secondary schools
Residents of Chinatown are zoned to schools in the
Oakland Unified School District.Zoned schools include [http://mapstacker.ousd.k12.ca.us/newdefault.htm] :
*Lincoln Elementary School (K-5) is the local public "American school." [ [http://tlc.ousd.k12.ca.us/lincoln/ Lincoln Elementary School website] ]
*Westlake Middle School
Oakland Technical High School
The Lighthouse Community Charter School started in the 2004 - 2005 school year with grades K-2 and 6-8. LCCS intends to enroll two new grade levels each year until it serves grades K – 12 school in 2008 – 2009. [ [http://www.lighthousecharter.org/ Lighthouse Community Charter School website] ]
Colleges and universities
Laney Collegeis a community collegelocated at the south end of Chinatown. Course offerings include Asian and Asian American Studies, Chinese language, Japanese language, and Chinese Opera (Music Department).
*Cal State East Bay has the Oakland Professional Development and Conference Center at Broadway and 11th Street.
Continuing educationcourses includes a certificate program in "Teaching Chinese as a Heritage or Other Language".
Other education services
*The Mun Fu Yuen "
Chinese school" has after school classes in Cantonese Chinese language and culture at the Oakland Chinese Community Center on 9th Street at Harrison.
* Bagwell, Beth (1994). "Oakland, the Story of a City". ISBN 0-9640087-1-8 (HC) or ISBN 0-9640087-0-X (PB)
* Collins, Willie R. (Ed.) (1994). "Chinese traditional arts and folklore in Oakland". City of Oakland Cultural Arts Division's Traditional Arts Program.
* Ma, Eve Armentrout and Ma, Jeong Huei (1982). "The Chinese of Oakland: Unsung Builders" Oakland Chinese History Research Committee.
* National Park Service History. [http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/5views/5views3.htm A History of Chinese Americans in California] . Retrieved June 7, 2005.
* Wa Sung Community Service Club. "Oakland Chinatown Community Directory 2005".
* Wong, William (2004). "Oakland's Chinatown" (Images of America: California).
Arcadia PublishingISBN 0-7385-2925-7 [http://news.asianweek.com/news/view_article.html?article_id=849ba6bd93cc104b408f562c6f495005&this_category_id=170 AsianWeek review] [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/12/31/EBGL3AB8R241.DTL&type=travelbayarea San Francisco Chronicle review]
*Fong Torres, Ben (1994). "The Rice Room: Growing up Chinese-American—From Number Two Son to Rock 'n' Roll". ISBN 0-452-27412-5
* Ah-Tye, Howard (1999). "Resourceful Chinese". Matai Group.
* Chann, Ernest (1976). "Brief History of Oakland Chinatown." Unpublished monograph. At Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.
* Chow, Willard T. (June 1, 1977). The Reemergence of an Inner City: The Pivot of Chinese Settlement in the East Bay Region of the San Francisco Bay Area. R & E Pub. ISBN 0-88247-457-X
* Ma, L. Eva Armentrout (January 1, 2001). "Hometown Chinatown: A History of Oakland's Chinese Community, 1852-1995". (Asian Americans). Garland Publishing. ISBN 0-8153-3760-4
* Wong, William (2001). "Yellow Journalist: Dispatches from Asian America." Temple University Press. ISBN 1-56639-830-4
List of named ethnic enclaves in North American cities
Jack London Square
*Lakeside Apartments District
Oakland City Center
* [http://www.oaklandchinatownhistory.org/ Oakland Chinatown History] overview, personal histories, and photos
* [http://www.oaklandchinatownchamber.org/ Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce]
* [http://mondomap.com/mondo/map_ocvb.cfm?bid=13 Oakland Chinatown Interactive
* [http://huaren.org/diaspora/n_america/usa/docs/042599-01.html Oakland Chinatown Without Bounds]
* [http://www.oaklandtenantsunion.org/pacren/ Stop Chinatown Evictions Coalition] - Oakland Tenants Union
* [http://www.acphd.org/AXBYCZ/Admin/DataReports/chinatown.pdf Chinatown Community Information Book 2001] , Alameda County Public Health Department
* [http://www.oaklandexplorer.com/ Oakland Explorer] requires
Macromedia Flash plugin- interactive map, select Downtown and go to Webster and 8th Streets in the middle of Chinatown. Click on parcel upper middle box; pan with mouse right lower box for panoramic views.
* [http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/baintro.html The Untold Chinatown (A Photo Essay)] By Bruce Takeo Akizuki, Oakland, California (Selling Her Wares.. is from Oakland Chinatown)
* [http://www.api-center.org/ Asian & Pacific Islander Youth Violence Prevention Center (API Center)]
** [http://www.api-center.org/information_sharing.html Publications] includes several Oakland resources
* [http://www.alamedaapartments.com/chinatown.htm My Chinatown; An Indiana native gets an insider's view] San Francisco Chronicle 8/15/97
* [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/08/09/FD22151.DTL&type=printable Taste More Than China In Oakland's Chinatown] SF Chronicle August 9, 2000
* [http://www.asianweek.com/090299/bay_oaklandchinatown.html Oakland Chinatown Enjoying Renaissance] AsianWeek Sept 2, 1999
* [http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/PR/pr081904calStories.html Reclaimed Stories: Chinatown, Oakland Project] press release
* [http://www.chsa.org/ Chinese Historical Society of America]
* [http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/collections/chineseinca/index.html Chinese in California, 1850-1920] Library of Congress' American Memory website
* [http://www.theorganiccity.com/mobile/featured_map?auth=WilliamWong&title=Oakland%C2%A0Chinatown Oakland Chinatown Tour] interactive video tour of 10 Oakland Chinatown spots from The Organic City Mobile, a community storytelling project focused on the downtown Oakland area
* [http://www.oacc.cc Oakland Asian Cultural Center]
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