Pioneers from the East: First Chinese Families in Austin
William Get-Min Ng & Lee Sun You, Ca. 1930's, AR.2009.063(034), Ng Family Papers
According to the 1875 Census there were 20 Chinese people living in Austin. Most of these were men who left China to find work in order to support their families. Because of the Chinese Exclusion Act, they could not bring their wives or children. These men worked mainly in the laundry or restaurant business. This was the beginning of Asian presence in Austin.
Beginning in the 1870's the Chinese population in Travis County grew rather slowly until there was a large jump from 94 to 332 in the 1960's to the 1970's. By 2010, the city had over 10,000 Chinese Americans working across different industries. As displayed in this photo exhibit, the Chinese American individuals and families who first settled in Austin made important contributions to Austin's culture, growth, and development. Their hard work helped pave the way for future immigrants and other Asian Americans who later found a home in Austin and Travis County.
All of the families featured in the photo exhibit have archival collections or biography files at the Austin History Center. These donated items were acquired through the Community Archivist Program and can be accessed in our Reading Room by utilizing the Asian American Resource Guide.