Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2021 - CSPM

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2021

by Meg Poole, CSPM Program Coordinator

The CSPM is proud to honor the local history and legacy of  generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders this May as part of the nationwide commemoration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Explore three stories below which are featured in the Story of Us exhibit (and digital storytelling tool) and in the new COS@150 exhibit, which can be enjoyed in person or through our website.

Story of Us: China Jim Bofondo

Unfortunately, many great stories (and people) are lost to history. In the case of Leu Bo Foo a.k.a. James "China Jim" Bofonda, a few dozen or so newspaper articles, a 1910 census record, a narrative written in 1971 based on the memories of a several local residents and a handful of anecdotal accounts are all that we have to piece together the complex story of his life. In other words, we have more questions than answers. What we do know is that a man who later came to be called James BoFonda was born in Canton, China sometime between 1861-1865. Several combinations of his name can be found on contemporary records but he was affectionately known in Colorado Springs as “China Jim” Bofonda. Some records indicate he immigrated to the United States in 1882 and perhaps worked in Wyoming. However, by September 1890 he was living in Colorado Springs. A notice in the Colorado Springs Gazette stated: “Attention is called to the advertisement of the new curio store on Huerfano Street to be opened by China Jim & Co.” At times, Bofonda left his business in the care of friends and returned to China to visit family, check on business interests there and/or to secure products for his store in Colorado Springs.

Clifford Nakata

Clifford Nakata was an excellent architect and an outstanding human being. Former colleague and close friend Gregory Friesen of CSNA in Colorado Springs, described him importance in this way, “Through his patriotism, the activities of his life that brought him here, his impact on shaping and thus protecting the national defense, and his many contributions to institutions, corporations, and the very fabric of downtown Colorado Springs, Clifford S. Nakata FAIA has helped shape the character, buildings and urban fabric of Colorado Springs.”

 

Clifford Nakata, ca. 2010. Courtesy of Cara Nakata.

COS@150: Golden Lotus Foundation

From Cynthia Aki, President & CEO: If you are fortunate, in many Asian families, an heirloom tea set may be passed down to you. The tea set on display is a porcelain white tea pot with traditional tall, Yunomi decorative tea cups, and lacquer tray from the estate of Reverend George and Misake Aki to their son Galen, and daughter-in-law Cynthia Chung Aki. The Aki’s were Nisei, Japanese born in California, and at the turn of WWII entered into Tanforan Assembly Center then transferred to Jerome Arkansas Interment Camp under Executive Order 9066. Reverend George Aki, serving as clergy, would later receive the Congressional Gold medal awarded collectively to the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Community Partnership: The Golden Lotus Foundation

This May, in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the Museum is partnering with the Golden Lotus Foundation to provide tours of the new COS@150 exhibit for their membership. Community partnerships such as this are essential to our mission and our ability to develop exhibits where every member of our community can feel connected and see their story reflected. 

We are honored to have the Golden Lotus Foundation’s President and CEO, Cynthia Aki,  share the story of her family’s heirloom tea set on these tours, which you can learn more about above. 

CSPM Curator of History, Leah Davis Witherow, sharing with the Golden Lotus Foundation about the new "COS@150" exhibit.
CSPM Curator of History, Leah Davis Witherow, sharing with the Golden Lotus Foundation about the new "COS@150" exhibit.
Cynthia Aki, member of the Golden Lotus Foundation, sharing about her involvement in the "COS@150" exhibit.
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Meg Poole, Program Coordinator

719.385.5631 | Meg.Poole@coloradosprings.gov