Gathering: Cemetery Memorial

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Architectural model of the Chinese Immigrant Memorial at Mount Hope Cemetery, ca. 1992. Courtesy of Chinese Historical Society of New England.
Architectural model of the Chinese Immigrant Memorial at Mount Hope Cemetery, ca. 1992. Courtesy of Chinese Historical Society of New England.

More than fifteen hundred Chinese immigrants have found their final resting place in three sections of Boston’s Mount Hope Cemetery since 1930. Many of them had been sojourner-workers who lived difficult lives during the Chinese Exclusion Era. Their customary final journey home after death was interrupted first by World War II and later by the civil strife in China. The once temporary burial ground on foreign soil became a permanent one.

The Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE) was founded in 1992 with a goal to restore the Chinese section of the cemetery and create a central memorial. In March 2007, after over 18 years of dedicated planning, fundraising, and gaining community support, CHSNE members and supporters dedicated the completed Chinese Immigrant Memorial to the unsung heroes buried at Mount Hope.

The memorial was designed by Joo Kun Lim of Twinspine Architects with input from the community. Lim explained that the modern design was chosen to “[give] the immigrants who are buried there a place in their new home. It’s been almost 100 years since some of them have died [and should] reflect where they are today.” The memorial provides a place for present and future generations to reflect on the contributions and sacrifices of those Chinese American pioneers who first settled in the Boston area.

This object was featured in the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)'s exhibit, "Gathering: Collecting and Documenting Chinese American History," October 17, 2019 - March 22, 2020.

Place(s): Boston, MA
Year: 1992

– Chinese Historical Society of New England

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