Yee's Food Land in Lake Village, AR, by Jung Min "Kevin" Kim for the SFA.
Last summer, SFA intern Jung Min "Kevin" Kim conducted oral history interviews with Chinese grocers in the Mississippi and Arkansas deltas. Hyphen Magazine recently featured the project in an article by Nina Kahori Fallenbaum entitled "Mississippi Bok Choy: Telling the Stories of Chinese American Grocers in the South". From the article:
Chinese people have been coming to the area since 1869, when Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas cotton planters met during Reconstruction to figure out who would work their fields in a post-enslavement era. Their solution? Recruit workers from southern China and San Francisco’s Chinatown. Most of those farm-laboring Chinese left the Delta after their contracts expired, but a few stayed on, opening small grocery stores that served Black clientele who wanted an alternative to commissaries run by former plantation owners.
To view the Chinese Grocers project in its entirety, please visit our online archive.
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