Stationery Letterhead

 My great-grandfather, Chas J Lou, was born in San Francisco in 1877 before making his way to Mississippi in the late 1890’s where he became one of the early settlers of a town called Pace. There, he owned and operated a grocery store. In 1903, he traveled to China to marry Shee Chin and subsequently had a son, KC Lou, my grandfather. In 1920, Chas J Lou brought his wife and son to the U.S. to help run his store. This is the original letterhead from their store. During the early to mid-1900s, the majority of Chinese in the Mississippi Delta ran grocery stores. Like most Chinese families in the area, my great-grandparents and grandfather lived in the back of their store since the Chinese were excluded from living in white neighborhoods due to segregation. African-American customers were not always welcome in white-owned grocery stores but they were always welcome in Chinese-owned stores.  My great-grandfather and grandfather extended credit to their black customers when they did not have enough money to buy groceries, especially during the Great Depression. Their store was well respected by both the black and white communities. That physical store building no longer stands, but this letterhead is a nice reminder of my family’s vital role in the community. 

Place(s): Pace, Mississippi,American South,

– Baldwin Chiu, Film Maker and Musician

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