Amid a surge of anti-Asian hate in America, Aimee Towi Mae Tang, a fourth-generation Chinese New Mexican, wanted to know more about of her own identity and how her family settled in Albuquerque. Born in China and new to Albuquerque himself, journalist Wufei Yu decided to help the Tangs learn more about their history, and in doing so, perhaps find his own place in a new city.

Edward had saved more than enough money to buy the land his store stood on. But state law prevented him, meaning he could do little to help preserve the neighborhood. Gradually, the Chinese-owned stores closed, and Albuquerque’s Chinatown dwindled. By World War II, it was gone. Few traces of the neighborhood remain in newspaper clippings and records. “If my great-grandpa were allowed to have land, the Tang family and Chinese Americans could have owned downtown Albuquerque,” Aimee told me.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.