Empty Graves: Lecture by Sandy Lydon
Thursday, April 3, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM (PDT)
Santa Cruz, CA
San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Why There Are So Few Chinese Pioneers Remaining in Santa Cruz’s Evergreen Cemetery?
Every ten years or so Chinese bone retrieval teams would come to Santa Cruz’s Chinese cemetery and to the astonishment (sometimes horror) of the non-Chinese population, they would exhume the older graves, remove and clean the bones, and prepare them to be shipped back to China. Labeled “bonepickers,” these crews were part of a trans-Pacific system designed to reunite the bones of those who died far from home with their families in China.
Because of this continuous bone-removal process, we don’t know exactly how many Chinese remains are still in the Chinese section of Evergreen Cemetery. And probably never will.
In a first-ever lecture presentation on this practice, Sandy Lydon will discuss the spiritual reasons for it, how it was organized, who paid for it and the impact that changing Chinese politics had on it. He will also discuss Hong Kong’s Coffin Home where many containers of bones still wait to be reunited with their families. And, he will discuss the current status of the Monterey Chinese cemetery and why it had so few bone repatriations compared to Santa Cruz.
This lecture is designed as a background for the re-dedication ceremony that will be held at Evergreen Cemetery on April 5th.