Chinatown Community Land Trust awarded $10,000 to create the Immigrant History Trail

Chinatown Community Land Trust awarded $10,000 to create the Immigrant History Trail

The National Trust for Preservation recently awarded the Chinatown Community Land Trust (CCLT) a $10,000 grant for the creation of the Immigrant History Trail  in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood. The project aims to tell the stories of the neighborhood’s working-class, immigrant history. CCLT was among 34 recipients nationally to receive funding. 

The Immigrant History Trail will be a multimedia public art project that utilizes Boston’s Chinatown community archives to finally tell this hidden history. Later in the year plaques with QR codes will be put up around the neighborhood to inspire visitors to explore the resilient working-class and immigrant histories that have shaped this section of Boston for nearly two centuries. Residents, workers, and small-business owners will be encouraged to share their stories and audio-visuals to enrich this non-traditional project with a multitude of individual and familial perspectives.

Executive Director of the Chinatown Community Land Trust, Lydia Lowe said: “We are excited to launch the Immigrant History Trail later this year with the installation of four photographic markers at different points of interest in Chinatown’s history and a website for people to explore.” Lowe added that the CCLT “will continue to add more markers to the trail each year.” 

The creation of the Immigrant History Trail comes at a time when the neighborhood’s future is threatened by development pressures and displacement of longtime Asian residents. CCLT has been advocating for more community-centric zoning and increased affordable housing development. The neighborhood-wide installation will bring attention to Chinatown’s historic social and economic resilience while also presenting the forces that threaten the working-class, residential, and  immigrant enclave.  Lowe also believes the trail will bring some much-needed balance to Boston’s public history-telling.

The Immigrant History Trail is one of the ways that we are activating the community’s rich archive of unheard stories,” said Lowe.  “We are celebrating Chinatown’s history as a neighborhood that has anchored immigrant, working class families for nearly 200 years.”