Race & Racism at the University of Richmond

Chinese Student Experience

The city of Richmond has been an historical home to the Baptist General Association of Virginia, a convention associated with the Southern Baptist Convention and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. In 1845, the Southern Baptist Church formed the Foreign Mission Board (renamed International Mission Board), headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. Jeremiah Jeter, president of the Richmond College Board of Trustees, was the first president of the Foreign Mission Board, beginning a long association between Richmond College and Baptist ministries abroad. Baptists chose China as the first site for their evangelistic efforts, dividing China into five missions. In 1922, all Chinese students at the University of Richmond were graduates of Pui Ching Baptist Academy (Pui Ching Middle School) in Canton (Guangzhou), China. Located in what was considered the South China Mission, the school was founded in 1889 and was the first to be created by Chinese Christians rather than Baptist missionaries.

Chinese students have been an integral part of the University of Richmond since at least the early twentieth century. Likely the first non-white students to receive an education at Richmond College, Chinese students have been subject to racial stereotyping and endured racist language, often documented in archival materials. Chinese students from both Richmond and Westhampton College were active members of the University community, preserving and promoting their identities while forming the first cultural and co-ed organizations on campus. This exhibit analyzes archival materials including the written works of Chinese students, photographs, documents, and additionally reflects the open participation of white students in Orientalism. This curated collection of historical documents and images aims to provide insight into the lives of Chinese students at the University of Richmond.

Chinese Student Club 1924A 1924 photograph in The Web, picturing Chinese Club students: J. A. Paau, Y. F. Leung, C. K. Wong, K. F. Cheung, King Mok, P. L. Mok, W. H. Lam, T. L. Sene, and Y. C. Shek. 

 

Credits

Content for this exhibit was written by Alyssa Godley (‘16), Scott Shim (‘17) and Shira Smillie (‘18) during Dr. Nicole Maurantonio’s Fall 2015 Digital Memory & the Archive course. Additional research and updates were completed by Cory Schutter (‘19) during Independent Study with Project Archivist Irina Rogova in Spring 2019. Exhibited items appear courtesy of The Virginia Baptist Historical Society and The Richmond Collegian Archive.