According to the 1875 Census there were 20 Chinese 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 over their wives or children. These men worked mainly in the laundry or restaurant business. That was the beginning of Asian presence in our city.
As displayed in this photo exhibit, the individuals and families who ended up in Austin built a life for themselves by opening up businesses and immersing themselves into the community. All of their hard work paved the way for future immigrants and Asian Americans who settled down 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. Today, we have over 10,000 Chinese Americans in Austin working in many different industries. They share their culture and heritage and are constantly contributing to the great success of our city.
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 Asian American Liaison program and can be accessed in our Reading Room by utilizing the Asian American Resource Guide.