A social history of the Delta Chinese and their lives in operating their small grocery stores that were often located in black neighborhoods close to the cotton pickers who were their primary customers when they first opened in the early part of the last century/
This scholarly book studies the Chinese of the Mississippi Delta. During Reconstruction, white plantation owners imported Chinese sharecroppers in the hope of replacing their black laborers. In the beginning they were classed with blacks. But the Chinese soon moved into the towns and became, almost without exception, owners of small groceries.
A Chinese scholar who lived among the Delta Chinese wrote this ethnography showing how the Chinese, initially classified as "colored," came to be viewed as a people with a separate identity. It shows how they expanded their social and economic standing running small grocery stores throughtout the Delta.
John Thornell (2008) summary of the history of Chinese settlers in the Mississippi Delta based on research articles and interviews carried out in 2000 as part of an oral history project funded by the Mississippi Humanities Council.
Prof. Jane Adams and D. Horton discuss race issues in the Delta from the perspective of different groups including Chinese Hoover and Freda Lee from Louise, Ms. ( To see the video interview, go to the link below this one)
Video in 2010 with Raymond Wong discussing his father's grocery store in Greenville, Ms. as well as how they left that business for safety reasons during the turbulent civil rights activism days to open a Chinese restaurant, How Joy, that operated until recently.
A moving account of Bobby Joe Moon's search for the roots of his family origin in the Guangdong village from where his father, Joe Guie Moon, and other relatives came from China around the 1920s and 1930s to settle eventually in the Mississippi Delta.
Leslie Bow, born of Chinese grocers in Arkansas, grew up in northern California. Here is an excerpt from her scholarly description of her struggles to understand what their lives had been like in the Delta.
"I set foot in the place where my mother grew up only once. Both my parents were raised behind one-room, Chinese-owned grocery stores in the South. Even from my three-year-old perspective, there was nothing particularly exotic about Canton Cash in Helena, Arkansas; in my memory, it hovers between quaint and squalid. Heat rose up from weed-choked lots. Above the store, the living quarters seemed immense, infused with a palpable heaviness, as if the air could grab you around the legs and squeeze. We were delighted when the cracked linoleum stained our bare feet black, awed to find the toilet sitting in the hallway in lieu of a real bathroom. There was also candy, huge bubbled glass jars of it, generously bestowed from behind the counter, There were my grandparents beaming and gesturing for us to "eat, eat" across the generational and linguistic divide, The flies, the heat, my grandparents--my mother must have had mixed feelings about all of these things..."