High school diploma


My great grandmother grew up in China. She moved to the US in 1916, wanting to be a doctor. She was very cultured in art and music as well as incredibly smart, smart enough to graduate from med school as a blatant minority at the time. This love of western ideals originated from her parents, who were part of the rising class of well educated families in China. This is her high school diploma, administered in 1918, a milestone representing her drive and passion. She and her sister were both sent to the US for med school, but when The Immigration Act of 1924 tested their ability to stay, my great grandmother applied for a marriage license to marry her husband with a birthplace of San Francisco. This was never questioned because 18 years before, an earthquake had ruined all of the cities municipal records including birth certificates. My great grandparents’ meeting took a toll on both sides of the family, because her parents had wanted her to return to China and marry a countryman. Instead, Lydia fell in love with America, and the prejudice she faced fueled her to excel above her classmates. Though her array of cultures have been almost lost in time, her story reminds me of dedication and passion and how art is totally universal. My grandfather ended up being an art dealer, with music a big part of his life as well, and my father is very immersed in the art world. 

Place(s): China, San Fransisco
Year: 1916

– Delilah Bellamy

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more