Tacoma City Council approves Chinese Reconciliation Resolution on November 30, 1993.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 1/14/2003
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 4132

On November 30, 1993, the Tacoma City Council approves the Chinese Reconciliation Resolution (Resolution 32415) to make amends for the 1885 expulsion of the entire Chinese community in Tacoma by the mayor and other leading citizens. This event occurred on November 3, 1885, in the context of an economic downturn. It was preceded by months of mass meetings and bigoted rhetoric in the newspapers and elsewhere. The day after the Chinese were forced to leave, their houses were burned to the ground.

Dr. David Murdoch, who moved to Tacoma with his wife in 1982, initiated the reconciliation project. In 1992, he joined with city councilman Robert Evans, former State Representative Art Wang (D-Tacoma), and community activists to initiate the process of making amends.

As part of the reconciliation process, a Chinese Commemorative park and international pavilion will be built at the former National Guard site on Commencement Bay, not far from the early Chinese settlement that was forced to leave. The cost is estimated at $6 million and the architect is J. A. Brennan and Associates in association with Joe Y. Wai Architect Inc.

The Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation was founded in 1994. Their objective is to promote peace and harmony in Tacoma's multicultural community, to educate the community and establish historical memory, to build the Chinese commemorative park for the use of the community, to set a reconciliation example for other communities across the country that have encountered similar events, and finally to explore and celebrate cultural diversity as well as our common humanity.

As of 2004, the site on Commencement Bay had been acquired and the design plans had been completed. Groundbreaking took place on August 19, 2005.


City of Tacoma website (economic development/Major Projects) (http://www.ci.tacoma.wa.us/econdev/MajorProjects); Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation Website (http://crpftacoma.org).
Note: This essay was updated on November 30, 2004 and again on April 18, 2006.

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