If you’re passing through Union Station this month, a new temporary exhibition in the Historic Waiting Room named Broken News is recognizing the 150th anniversary of the Chinese Massacre of 1871 in which 18 Angelenos of Chinese descent perished at the hands of an angry mob.
Broken News is a project by Adit Dhanushkodi that portrays the deeply troubling vein of anti-Chinese sentiment in the local press in the 1800s that contributed to the massacre, which took place near Union Station. The exhibition incorporates four original primary source newspaper headlines alongside two additional panels, designed by Dhanushkodi and drawing from period primary sources, to summarize the complete story. Cultural organizer Rosten Woo and historian Eugene Moy served as exhibit advisors.
Broken News is a co-presentation of the Chinese American Museum, Chinese Historical Society of Southern California and Metro Art. The exhibit, which will be on display through October 29 and complements other public programming on the lives lost in 1871, was organized in conjunction with the 1871 Memorial Steering Committee of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office Civic Memory Working Group.
“For those of us who study the history and development of our communities, we recognize that there will always be misunderstandings, ignorance, fear and hate by the dominant culture against ‘the other,'” said Eugene Moy, Board Member and Past President of the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California. “However, given recent and senseless acts of hate and violence against people of Chinese descent and others, it is clear that we need a proactive effort to admit and reconcile these historic errors, to educate ourselves about our diverse and common roots, and to promote a willful effort to promote racial and community harmony.”
Beginning this Sunday, October 17, the Chinese American Museum will host a series of daily online programs on the massacre. These include livestreamed panels, performances, a pre-recorded walking tour and educator workshops. The week will culminate on Sunday, October 24, with a virtual ceremony in remembrance of the massacre’s victims.
“Combined with the Chinese American Museum’s weeklong series of programs, Broken News helps illuminate the need for unity and healing. This exhibit also provides historical context to the horrible circumstances and racial intolerance that resulted in the Chinese Massacre of 1871,” said Gay Yuen, Board Chair of Friends of the Chinese American Museum. “As the Chinese American community and other communities of color continue to experience hate, it is essential that the lessons embodied in the exhibit are shared through education and meaningful dialogue. We are proud to partner with Metro in sharing the lessons embodied in Broken News.”
The full schedule of programs organized by the Chinese American Museum is below. To register for any of the events, visit the Chinese American Museum’s website.