Loading color scheme


“I hope that this short retelling will inspire all of us in the AAPIS community to share our creation stories, and, in doing so, raise our voices in resistance and solidarity to transform our future.”

                               –Ava Salzman(虞锦莹), Sophomore at Harvard College

“Fire on Gold Mountain” is a set of 10 drawings by Ava Salzman, who is a 6th generation Chinese American.

Image 2. Ava Salzman


Image 3. Panel #2, introduction


Lee Wong Sang, the first generation of the Family in America

Image 4. Panel #3, Lee Wong Sang featured in “Fire On Gold Mountain”

Image 5. Panel #4, Chinese Railroad workers


Lee Yoke Suey, the Second Generation of the Family in America

Image 6. Panel #5, Lee Yoke Suey

Image 7. Photo of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake


Notes by Editor: The Transcontinental Railroad was completed in May 1869. There were at least 12 thousand of Chinese worked on the toughest sections of this railroad. However, when an economic depression emerged at 1873, Chinese became “scape-goats”. The Workingmen’s Party of California was founded with the objective to “rid the country of Chinese cheap labor.” The most well-known slogan during the anti-Chinese movement was: “The Chinese must go or we drive them to the sea!” (1)

Image 8.  Violence Against Chinese, “PUCK” Magazine Cover, Feb. 1885

Image 9. The Birth Certificate that Lee Yoke Suey Risked His Life to Rescue from Earthquake Debris


Notes by Editor: In 1882, the US Congress passed the “Chinese Exclusion Act” which not only forbidding Chinese from entering the United States, but also barring Chinese from becoming Naturalized Citizens. (2)

Lee Yoke Suey was one of the very few Chinese born in the United States at that time. It was his American birth certificate that protected him and his family from being imprisoned and deported.


Image 10. Panel #6, Wong Shee

Image 11.  Panel #7, Mr. Young Soong Quong and Mrs. Leong Gum Gee


Notes by Editor: This part of the history is featured in the first episode of the PBS documentary “Asian Americans”, being streamed now at PBS. https://www.pbs.org/show/asian-americans/

Image 12.    The Chinatown in San Jose, CA in Flames, May 4th,1887

Image13. Panel #8, Connie Young Yu

Image 14. Panel #9, Ava Salzman(虞锦莹)

Image 15. Panel #10


Image 16. Connie Yu (Ava’s grandmother) speaking at the 150th Anniversary of Transcontinental Railroad


Notes by Editor: Connie Yu  is Ava’s grandmother and a well-known scholar of the History of Chinese Americans. At the Celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad, Connie Yu delivered a speech. And her closing remarks echoed and rhymed with the applauses, cheers, joy, tears and pride in the air: “ We honor the courage, fortitude and sacrifice of Chinese railroad workers, and their legacy in America, which belongs to all of us.”

Image 17.  Ava Salzman(虞锦莹)

  • Qian Huang