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UCR to Make Home in Cyberspace

UCR to Make Home in Cyberspace

(January 7, 1999)

Asian Americans with a story to tell about Riverside will have a new audience in cyberspace because of Deborah Wong, the director of the University of California, Riverside's Center for Asian Pacific America.

Wong, a professor of music, recently won a $10,000 grant from the California Council for the Humanities to post an interactive World Wide Web exhibit called "Rediscovering Asian American Riverside." Wong said nothing like it currently exists on the Internet.

Historical information, such as the anti-Chinese violence that swept through the area in 1894, will provide a backdrop for other material that will be available, starting in Sept., 2000, from the Center's existing Web page

Wong said a team of faculty members, students, and community members will start immediately to reproduce relevant historical documents and photographs for the Web page. They will also conduct oral history interviews with Asian American residents.

All the materials generated by the project will be deposited in a local archive available to the public. Wong also said she will organize a series of three public lectures at Riverside Central Library and at the Riverside Municipal Museum to highlight specific findings.

Wong said the rich history of Chinese immigrants between 1870 and 1920 is clear from archaeological work in downtown Riverside.

"We aim to add to that picture by considering all the Asian-American communities in our city, including more recent arrivals from South and Southeast Asia," Wong said. "We know that significant numbers of Japanese Americans lived in Riverside from the turn of the century on, for instance, but World War II and the imprisonment of Japanese Americans effectively destroyed that community."

Wong said she is also interested in documenting the growing Korean community and the presence of South and Southeast Asians in Riverside, most of whom arrived after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.

Wong said the project will uncover stories of interethnic cooperation that will counterbalance the more spectacular histories of interethnic violence and hostility that have periodically marked the area.

One example of cooperation is the friendship between Mission Inn owner Frank Miller and Jukichi Harada, who purchased a house in downtown Riverside in 1915 and outraged a number of his anglo neighbors. A famous court case, The State of California vs. Jukichi Harada, eventually awarded the home to the Harada family. It has since been named a National Historic Landmark, and Wong is eager to see it and the Chinatown site developed as sites for cultural and historical tourism.

Anyone interested in helping with the project can contact Wong at UCR via email: or by telephone, at (909) 787-3726.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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