Most discussions, even today, of school segregration in Mississippi, and elsewhere, focus on black and white children with little or no mention of other children such as Chinese.
In an earlier post on Sept. 23, I noted that:
"Since the late 1800s Mississippi maintained that white schools were for caucasians only, and that since Chinese were not caucasian, it was ruled that they could not attend white schools. Chinese fought this situation in court, a generation before the landmark 1954 decision (Brown vs. Board of Education) that overturned school desegregation nationwide. The Chinese lost their case, and the ruling was upheld by the U. S. Supreme Court, Gong Lum v. Rice, 1927. Chinese had to establish their own schools to provide better education for their children with the assistance of local churches until white schools finally began to admit them during the late 1940s in a few small Delta towns."
Overdue recognition from the State of Mississippi of how Delta Chinese coped with this problem came on Oct. 21, 2012 with the dedication of an historic marker on the site of the Chinese Mission School established in 1937 by the Delta Chinese with the support of the First Baptist Church and Cleveland community leaders to provide a better education for Chinese children than was available to them. Over 200 attended the ceremony, including some alumni from as far away as New York and California to celebrate the recognition given to this vital collaboration to educate Chinese children and to visit the newly created Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum housed at Delta State University.
It was a joyous homecoming for the Delta Chinese to pay tribute to their rich historic past.