When I was growing up in Macon, Georgia in the 1940s, my parents operated the only Chinese laundry in town. As a child, the thought or question never entered my mind once as to whether there had been any Chinese laundries or other businesses there before my parents came to Macon in 1928. It was not until 1956 on the eve of my father’s retirement and move to San Francisco when the local newspaper published a commentary with a headline, “Not A Chinese in Our Town for the First Time in A Century,” that I ever considered the possibility that other Chinese had been in Macon before 1928.
As I was only 15 years old then, this realization piqued by interest, but only momentarily and it was not until about 60 years later that I decided to search archival resources to learn what I could about these earlier Chinese in Macon. Much to my surprise, I found over 30 newspaper articles dealing with the dozen or so Chinese men who had all operated laundries in Macon from 1885 until 1928 when my parents came from China. There were no Chinese women or children during this period so my mother was the first Chinese woman and I and my 3 siblings were the first Chinese children born in Macon. I report my findings in this downloadable linked document, Chinese Laundrymen in the Heart of Georgia (1885-1956).