Oral History Archive - Projects
Journey Wall

The Journey Wall is a custom art installation created for MOCA's lobby by renowned artist/designer Maya Lin. The wall is composed of bronze tiles through which Chinese Americans can permanently honor and remember their family roots. Each tile bears the name of an individual or family, their ancestral home, and current place of residence in America. The complete wall will highlight the expansiveness of the Chinese American Diaspora and the diversity of immigration stories from across the country - from artists to businessmen. The interviews in this collection are the stories of the Chinese American families that are part of the Journey Wall installation.

Number of interviews: 42

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2015.048.001 The Family Journey of Chester Lee & Michael Lee

Both Chester and Michael are extremely active in the Chinatown community. Michael heads the nonprofit group Apex and is a community leader in Chinatown. Chester has also worked with many nonprofits and believes it is important for people to share their gifts and help others. He views giving as a habit formed slowly over time that can have a large impact on various organizations. Michael attributes his inspiration in nonprofit work to witnessing his parents work in the community and his own experience on the Committee of 100. Chester advises Chinese Americans to remain grounded in the values they brought with them when they immigrated. He believes that staying true to their values will allow immigrants to succeed in a society that may not immediately accept them. Michael also hopes that the community will not be afraid to ask for help and will embrace other cultures and people to gain new information and become more prepared to succeed.

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2015.048.002 The Family Journey of Fay Chew Matsuda

This oral history interviewed Fay Chew Matsuda, director of the City Hall Senior Center, a division of the Hamilton-Madison House, and her life story. Fay grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan as the first generation Chinese-American girl born to immigrant parents. Fay would describe herself as a nurturing environment with parents who never pressured her to succeed and instilled in her values of the importance of family and togetherness, and respectation. Fay attended the elite Hunter High School, at the time an all-girls school, and went on to continue her education at the prestigious Barnard College. Fresh out of college she pursued a life of social work that took her from the Hamilton Madison House, to the then New York Chinatown History Project, to the Brooklyn Children Museum, back to the now Museum of Chinese in America, and then back once again to the Hamilton Madison House. Fay story and way of telling is interesting and rich with life experiences that any variety of listeners can be sure to connect to.

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2015.048.003 The Family Journey of Brenda Grosbard and Roger Yee

Ms. Brenda Grosbard and Mr. Roger Yee are grandchildren of Reverend Yeung Kai Cheung, the second pastor of the first Chinese Presbyterian Church in Chinatown, New York City. In this interview, Ms. Grosbard and Mr. Yee provide a detailed description of their family tumultuous history and their grandfather journeys from Vancouver B.C., to Shanghai, before ending up in Chinatown, New York City, where he became a spiritual and cultural leader of the Chinese community in New York. They talk about their grandfather cultural struggles as a reverend of a Western religion, and his ultimate ability to gracefully incorporate Chinese philosophy and thinking with his Christian teachings. His eminence profoundly inspired and influenced Ms. Grosbard and Mr. Yee childhood and their own cultural experiences growing up Asian American in Long Island, New York. These stories of Brenda Grosbard and Roger Yee provide a moving glimpse into the grand figure that was Reverend Yeung Kai Cheung.

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2015.048.004 The Family Journey of Fred Hu

Dr. Fred Hu is a renowned Chinese economist who obtained his PhD in Economics from Harvard University and now runs Primavera Capital Group, his own capital investment firm. Today, he speaks to us about his childhood in the 1970s during Mao culturally repressive programs of Mao, his ascension to university right after the reopening of the higher education system and studying abroad at Harvard University in the 1980s. He then expands on his career choice in Economics and talks about his time working at various economic institutions around the world, expressing his overarching mission to strengthen U.S.-China relations. He concludes the oral history by outlining his expectations for U.S.-China cooperation and his company in the years to come, without forgetting about his two children.

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2015.048.005 The Family Journey of Mynoon Doro

Mynoon F. Doro, born in Kaohsiung Taiwan, immigrated to Bay Ridge Brooklyn as a junior in high school with her family. She begins by sharing her experience with the English school system and the discrimination she faced when applying to college. Despite her guidance counselor’s doubts, Mynoon and her brother gained admission to Columbia University where they both majored in engineering. She continues her story where she attends graduate school at Yale and begins working abroad for AT&T. Throughout her story, her father’s desire for her to get married is prevalent, leading to her marriage to “genius” of non-Asian ancestry. Mrs. Doro’s personal journey intertwines with her professional journey where she makes sacrifices in her home to become a notable woman in her industry both in the United States and in China.

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2015.048.006 The Family Journey of Alice Young

This oral history is told by Alice Young, whose family’s multi-lingual, multi-cultural, academic, and diplomatic backgrounds and paths led her to become a pioneering, resilient, and globally oriented person. Her father and stepmother were linguists from diplomatic families and had formative impacts on East Asian languages and studies at so many academic institutions that Alice attended thirteen schools in twelve years. Sometimes, the Youngs were in places such as McLean, Virginia, where they were the only Asians, while in other periods, they experienced Hawaii hybridity and lived on a U.S. military base in Japan. Having spent her high school years building comfort and belonging with her communities in Hawaii, Alice stayed on the islands for her first year of college, then transferred to Georgetown on a scholarship. In her junior year, she joined Yale first class of women, entering an institution that had not only been all-male up until that year, but was also composed of primarily New England and prep school peers. At Yale, Alice became a student activist protesting the Vietnam War and co-founded the Asian American Student Association, which advocated for the recruitment of Asian American students and promoted Asian American studies. She returned to Japan on the Bates Fellowship to study under the Nobel Prize winning novelist Yasunari Kawabata. Desiring to make changes informed by her activism and caring about Asia, Alice made a difficult decision to choose to law over academia, attending Harvard Law School, where she co-founded the Harvard Women Law Student Association, was mentored by Professor Derek Bell, became involved with East Asian Legal Studies and the Black Law Students Association. Her pioneering law practice spanned many locations and extensive linguistic, cultural, business, and political knowledge and interests. After beginning her career at Coudert Brothers, she simultaneously became a partner and founded the New York office of Graham & James, and later joined Milbank Tweed. Alice also discusses her views on mentorship, the role of hard work in luck and serendipity, support within life partnership, her father pride in her, her decision-making around her career about parenting, her efforts to raise Chinese Irish American children who love their heritage, and generational differences and problems in China.

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2015.048.007 The Family Journey of Richard Ong

Richard Wong, later changed to Richard Ong, was born to a paper son who later became naturalized through the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. His mother was able to come to America through the War Brides Act of 1945. His family eventually settled in a suburb in East Rockaway New York, where they worked and lived in and behind a laundromat. Richard became a Catholic during his childhood years. He later went on to attend Princeton, describing his suburban upbringing as an experience that has helped him adjust to the predominantly white old-school / old-boys culture. However the suburban experience also seemed to alienate him from the members of the Third World Center, a place where minorities on campus would gather to socialize. While Richard originally majored in the Sciences at Princeton, he soon realize that there was not much room for growth without a PHD in the biotech industry. After briefly exploring a career in management within biotech, he eventually switched to a career in the financial sector once he attended Columbia Business School. He later became a partner with McCowan Associates and joined his current firm, Eagle Capital afterwards.

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2015.048.008 The Family Journey of Gregory Ho

Lawyer turned investment banker Gregory Ho talks about his family journey to Hawaii. He talks about his paternal and maternal great grandparents and the circumstances that led them to Hawaii. He talks about his great grandfather extensive family with his wife and a concubine and the estate dispute that ensured after his death. He goes on to discuss his time at Yale and Columbia and the issues brought on by race while studying. Briefly, he discusses his family Christian faith and how that faith intertwined with their Chinese culture.

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2015.048.009 The Family Journey of Diane Woo

Philanthropist Diane Woo talks about her family illustrious history in the Chinese academic world. She goes on to talk about her life in Hong Kong and later her life in the US. She goes on to talk about the differences in Chinese and American culture and how Chinese fraternities helped her when she first came to the US. She concludes by talking about raising her son and her grandson and how life has been different from when she first entered the US.

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2015.048.010 The Family Journey of June Jee

Long-time MOCA supporter and board member June Jee talks about her grandparents and her early life growing up in Hong Kong. After moving to the US in 1964 she discusses growing up in New York’s Chinatown and her family life in the US. She explores instances of racism and her brushes with the Chinatown gangs. She also talks about her career working at Verizon and her community engagement efforts. The conversation is concluded with her discussing her philanthropic efforts and how she sees the Asian American youth involvement in politics.


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