Mississippi Delta Chinese

Life in Chinese Grocery Stores


view:  full / summary

Willie Mae Wong, Greenville 1940s All-girls Big Band

Posted by John Jung on May 6, 2018 at 11:35 PM Comments comments (86)

                      During the 1930s and 1940s, big dance bands were popular and often performed in large restaurants, even in Chinese restaurants.  These bands generally had all male musicians, but a notable successful all girls orchestra was a multi-ethnic group known as the International Sweethearts of Rhythm that performed in major eas...

Read Full Post »

1972 Chinese Mayors in the Delta

Posted by John Jung on February 15, 2016 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (2)

Luck Wing in 2008 

This 1972 newspaper article that was published in many cities publicized the fact that three Chinese were mayors in Delta towns. In view of the history of racial prejudices against Chinese in the Delta for many decades, these pioneers, Luck Wing in Sledge, his brother John Wing in Jonestown, and Charlie Wah in Turrell, AR, made significant breakthroughs in becom...

Read Full Post »

Chinese, Christianity, and Coca Cola in The Delta

Posted by John Jung on October 4, 2015 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (1)

Reverend Ted Shepherd served as a beloved pastor of the Chinese Mission of the First Baptist Church from 1977-1999. He passed away in 2013.

In his tribute to the third and later generations of Chinese in the region, almost all grocery store owners, Shepherd admits that despite being a native of Greenville, he knew little about them when he became their pastor.  At the first Sunday of his mission, only 13 Chinese a...

Read Full Post »

MS Delta Chinese Heritage Reunion, Oct. 24-25, 2014

Posted by John Jung on July 20, 2014 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (1)

Chinese Americans who grew in the Mississippi Delta but now live elsewhere came by the dozens from points far and wide including New York, California, Virginia, Florida, Washington, New Mexico, Texas, District of Columbia, Illinois, and even from Hong Kong to participate in an historic...

Read Full Post »

Dedication of Historic Marker, Cleveland Chinese Mission School, Oct. 21

Posted by John Jung on September 27, 2012 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (2)

      Hiron Ju, who grew up and left the Delta, was attracted to return on the historic occasion of the dedication of an historic marker at the site of the Cleveland Chinese Mission School.  He posted on his blog about this joyous celebration and reunion of members from this community from a dist...

Read Full Post »

Where Did Delta Chinese Fit in the 'Battle over School Integration in MS?

Posted by John Jung on September 25, 2012 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

A 314 page book covering school Integration in Mississippi from 1870-1980 failed to make any "reference to Chinese" and their losing battle in the 1920s to gain access to white schools, as I described elsewhere in more detail. No, not even a foo...
Read Full Post »

New Research Study on Delta School Experiences

Posted by John Jung on September 7, 2012 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Prof. Stacey Lee of the University of Wisconsin, a daughter of Jean Hoy who had a grocery store in Greenwood, is an educator interested in Delta school experiences of people who attended school from the the '40s through the '70s.

This is valuable work and a great opportunity for you to share your experiences that can increase understanding of educational contexts.

if you want to get more info or participate, please contact her.    [email protected]

Also tell...

Read Full Post »

Chinese cooking, Southern style, down in the Delta

Posted by John Jung on August 21, 2012 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (2)


Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern went to Clarksdale on his Delta Blues episode and featured the Gilroy and Sally Chowfamily to showcase their creative blend of Cantonese cooking and Southern foods.   Here is a l

Read Full Post »

Grocery Stores, Turrell, Arkansas

Posted by John Jung on May 22, 2012 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (2)

              Main Street of Turrell, Arkansas, population of around 500, had 5 grocery stores, 3 owned by Chinese, located alongside the railroad tracks as shown below.  Ed Soon grew up there in the 1950s, and returned in 2000. He is pictured in the middle frame below standing in front of his family's grocery store that bears the name of the owner of the building, H. Baer.

Read Full Post »

The Arkansas Side of the Delta

Posted by John Jung on March 19, 2012 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Often overlooked in discussions about Chinese grocery stores in the Delta are those located on the Arkansas side of the river.  Their lives were very similar to those Chinese in Mississippi, and in many cases they were relatives and friends.  The excerpt below from a Master's thesis by Liao in 1951 describing the origins of the Arkansas Chinese and how they got involved in grocery stores through familial ties shows the similarities between the Chinese ...

Read Full Post »