My Grandfather's Bible

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

This Bible belonged to my grandfather, KC Lou, and it provided my family with an unexpected connection to the South. My father, Charles Chiu, was born in China in 1938.  When he was one year old, his father returned to the U.S., where he had been working prior to getting married in China. It wasn’t until my father was 14 that he was able to emigrate from China for San Francisco. He had no memory of his father, and all he knew was that he was buried in Mississippi. In 2014, my brother and I traveled with my father and our families to Mississippi to find my grandfather’s grave and pay our respects. We visited the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum, which is dedicated to the history of the Chinese in the South. Among the artifacts in its storage room, we amazingly uncovered a Chinese Bible originally given to my grandfather as a baccalaureate gift in the 1920s. We learned how the local church helped to establish schools for Chinese children denied attendance at public white schools because of racist segregation policies.  The Bible led to other discoveries about my grandfather, his community in the United States, and about the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act that prevented my father and grandfather from reuniting in the U.S. This connection to my grandfather through a Bible has extra significance to my father who became a Christian while serving in the U.S. Air Force.  The Bible connects him to his father, whom he never knew, and me to them.

Place(s): Cleveland, MS
Year: 1920

– Baldwin Chiu, Filmmaker & Musician

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant