Augusta, GA, May 19, 2023 – The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) dedicated a new historical marker that recognizes “The Augusta Chinese and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.” GHS unveiled the new marker in partnership with the Augusta Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) on Friday, May 19, 2023, in Augusta.
“The Augusta Chinese and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association historical marker is the first GHS historical marker to focus on Asian American and Pacific Islander history in Georgia,” says Elyse Butler, GHS Marker Manager. “We are pleased to dedicate this historical marker that tells the history of Augusta’s Chinese population and the creation of the oldest Chinese organization in Georgia.”
As a result of a civil war in China, the United States saw an increase in Chinese immigration by the 1870s. When the City of Augusta sought to widen and deepen the Augusta Canal, it hired more than 200 Chinese laborers in 1873 to execute the canal’s expansion. Once the project was completed, many laborers remained, forming a community there. The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) halted the immigration of Chinese laborers until its repeal in 1943, but because the act did not apply to merchants, Augusta’s established merchant-class community saw continued growth. The Chinese community in Augusta became the largest Chinese population in Georgia until the mid twentieth century. Seeking an organized avenue for supporting the community, some Augusta residents founded the CCBA. The association remains active in Augusta today.
The marker dedication took place at the CCBA, 548 Walker Street, in Augusta. Speakers included Gary Tom, President, CCBA; Jasmine Sims, Chief of Staff, City of Augusta Mayor’s Office; Raymond Rufo, Former President, CCBA; Carla Wong McMillian, Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia; and Breana James, Historical Marker and Program Coordinator, Georgia Historical Society.
The marker text reads:
The Augusta Chinese and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
The second half of the nineteenth century saw increased Chinese immigration to the United States to meet the needs of large-scale labor projects. In 1873, Chinese laborers were contracted to expand the Augusta Canal. The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) halted the immigration of Chinese laborers to the United States, but it did not apply to merchants. Already established in Augusta at that time, the Chinese merchant class continued to grow with the arrival of families, creating the largest Chinese population in Georgia until the mid twentieth century. The Augusta Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) was chartered in 1927 to support the Chinese community. The Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943, removing formal legal restrictions against Chinese Americans. The CCBA is the oldest Chinese organization in Georgia and remains active in the community.
Erected by the Georgia Historical Society and the Augusta Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
For more information about the “The Augusta Chinese and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association” historical marker dedication or the Georgia Historical Society marker program, please contact Keith Strigaro, Director of Communications, at 912.651.2125, ext. 153 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL MARKER PROGRAM
The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) administers Georgia’s historical marker program. Over the last 25 years, GHS has erected more than 300 new historical markers across the state on a wide variety of subjects. GHS also coordinates the maintenance for more than 2,100 markers installed by the State of Georgia prior to 1998. Online mapping tools allow users to design driving routes based on historical markers, and a mobile app helps visitors locate and learn about markers nearby. Visit georgiahistory.com for more ways to use Georgia’s historical markers and experience history where it happened.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
To learn more visit georgiahistory.com.