In Memoriam: Philip P. Choy (1926-2017)

Philip P. Choy. Photo from CHSA.
Philip P. Choy. Photo from CHSA.

Chinese American architect and historian passed away on March 16, 2017. From the Chinese Historical Society of America:

“Phil tirelessly devoted himself to research, preservation and education of Chinese American history. Together with the late Him Mark Lai, Phil taught the first Chinese American history course at San Francisco State University. Course material he co-authored, The History of The Chinese in California, A Syllabus, is a well-respected publication that is repeatedly referenced today. In the early 1970s, Phil hosted the groundbreaking PBS series Gum Saan Haak, The Chinese of America, the first extensive documentary series about Chinese American history.

His passing is a great loss for the community. Phil was an activist. He challenged the organizers of the Transcontinental Railroad Centennial in 1969 to recognize the role of Chinese laborers in its completion. Known for his preservation work, he submitted the case report for Angel Island Immigration Station which resulted in it being listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In Oroville, California, Phil designed the Temple Tapestry Hall to complement the adjacent historic Chinese temple and to house its extensive Chinese folk art collection.”

Choy was most recently interviewed as a scholar in The Chinese Exclusion Act PBS documentary, co-directed by Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu, and co-produced by CAAM. The film held it’s west coast premiere on Sunday to a sold out crowd at the Castro Theatre, where Choy was acknowledged.

Read the full CHSA statement on Philip P. Choy’s passing here.