A portrait of Wong Aloy: A Chinese immigrant’s American journey

A portrait of Wong Aloy: A Chinese immigrant’s American journey


This article is part of Placemaking, a project to uncover, collect and share Asian, South Asian and Pacific Islander (ASPA) histories in Evanston. The project is co-sponsored by the Kitchen Table Stories Project and the Evanston History Center. Research is ongoing and more articles will follow. Please contact us if you would like to get involved with the project.

Author’s note:

Credit: Jasper Davidoff

Wong Aloy (1868-1922) was one of the earliest recorded ASPA residents in Evanston.[1]

Wong was many things; a man of letters, a merchant, a playwright, an immigrant, an interpreter, a brother, an uncle, a husband, a son. His life and career in the United States provide a fascinating portrait of an immigrant from China; his experiences, triumphs, and tragedies constitute a significant narrative.

Wong Aloy, Chicago Record, November 21, 1894.

His life was woven by the multiple threads related to numerous issues facing immigrants from China in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After he came to the U.S., he lived in San Francisco, the territory of Montana, Evanston, Chicago, New York, and El Paso. He was deeply impacted by white Americans’ attitudes toward and treatment of Chinese immigrants – both positively and negatively – and he was fully enmeshed in the Chinese immigrant community.

Wong lived in Evanston for about five years and the experience had a major impact on his life. Wong’s life after he left Evanston was so compelling that I could not help but trace the larger events that constituted that portion of his life, astonished as I pieced together the range of his experiences.

More research into Wong Aloy’s biography is needed.[2] But for now, here is part of his story.

Language warning: Some of the language reproduced here is racist. It is quoted here in its original context only and in order to preserve the historical context in which it was originally used.


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Jorge Oliveira

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