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04 September 2014

Chinese Whispers: Bay Chronicles - SF Bay Area events in September

Curious about nineteenth century California and it's rich ethnic history?
Here's a series of local events of interest--

Chinese Whispers: Bay Chronicles is a project that traces the forgotten history of Chinese shrimp fishing in San Francisco Bay. It explores an overlooked yet important segment of the SF Bay area's maritime history tied to the Chinese-owned shrimp industry and the Chinese Exclusion Act.

In 1897, SF Bay had 26 Chinese shrimping camps, and the numbers dropped over time with restrictions on exports and nets. Today, the vestige of just one site remains at China Camp, which once was home to over 500 people, most of them from Canton, China.

It's part of a fascinating interdisciplinary media project, Chinese Whispers by Director Rene Yung and a team of artists, a marine archaeologist and curator John Muir in a collaboration with the SF Maritime National Historic Park. The project seeks to engage the public with three unique public programs at each of the places the Grace Quan will dock, the first happening this Saturday, September 5.

The GRACE QUAN (right) and a photo of a shrimp junk taken in the 1880s. (SAFRA7105nl) Both photos show the San Francisco waterfront in the background. The Grace Quan resembles vessels from the fishermen's hometowns in Guandong Province, China. Images: NPS

The upcoming sailings on a 43 foot replica shrimp junk, Grace Quan around the Bay, followed by public programs at each site are:
September 5: China Camp, San Rafael to Richmond, Craneway Pavilion
September 7-11: Richmond to Redwood City
September 12-14: Redwood City to China Camp, San Rafael

For more information on schedule and reservations see:

Also check out The Last Living Resident of China Camp: a KQED California Report interview with Frank Quan, the only resident of China Camp. The Chinese Whispers shrimp junk is named for his mother, Grace Quan.

Copyright © 2014 by Ellen Fernandez-Sacco, California Genealogical Society and Library.