In the documentary Come Together Home: Death. Disinterment. Reburial, Filmmaker Ivy Lin explains the history and uncovers the mystery of Chinese disinterment in Oregon:
“Block 14 in Lone Fir Cemetery, the first Chinese burial ground in Portland – and site of as many as 1,500 burials – now stands a fenced off void of gravel after most of the remains were exhumed and shipped back to China in 1928 and 1949. Sixty years later, director Ivy Lin follows the footsteps of the missing 1949 shipment in an extraordinary journey from Portland to Hong Kong”
~ Come Together Home DVD
The documentary begins with Brent Walth, a journalist for The Oregonian, retracing his steps through his research process regarding Block 14: first talking with local community members and then searching through various sources starting with Oregon newspapers and several archival repositories including the Multnomah County Office, the Oregon Historical Society, and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA). Then, Rebecca Liu, of the CCBA, shares two ledgers with detailed records of all those buried and later disinterred from Block 14 in Lone Fir.
The story continues with Lin traveling to Tung Wah Coffin Home and Hospital, in Hong Kong, which cared for and stored the remains as a transition point before being shipped to their final destination: the disinterred’s home village, to find out what happened to the 1949 shipment of disinterred remains. Through archival research at the Tung Wah Museum, and with assistance of Dr. Hon Ming Yip, Professor of History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Lin finally uncovers the final resting place of the nearly 600 Chinese Oregonians.
To see the film in its entirety, check it out via the OSU Libraries
Media 5th Floor (F884.P862 L66 2009)