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1906 Earthquake Centennial Alliance

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Lecture with Erica Pan: "The Impact of the 1906 Earthquake on Chinatown"

Chinese Historical Society of America

Scholar Erica Pan lectures on the impact of the 1906 Earthquake on Chinatown, focusing on the struggle of Chinese Americans to rebuild Chinatown in the heart of San Francisco.

About Erica Pan
An education specialist for the Los Angeles Unified School District, Dr. Pan has worked as a college teacher and a business administrator. She is currently a member of the National Education Association and the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles.

Born in China to parents who traveled across the country as geologists, Dr. Pan had her first experience with earthquakes at the age of 9, during the devastating January 5, 1970, quake in Yunnan Province, China. Her best friend died of suffocation under the debris of the quake, estimated to be 7.7 in magnitude on the Richter scale. Dr. Pan and her family camped outdoors sharing a tent with two other families for the next six months. This experience left Dr. Pan with special sensitivity to earthquake victims.

After obtaining a Bachelorís Degree in English and a Masterís Degree in English Literature in China, Dr. Pan was awarded a full scholarship in 1986 from Brigham Young University for doctoral work in U.S. History. During a required course on American Social and Community History, Dr. Pan encountered the history of Chinese Americans. Though she had heard about coolie labor (her motherís family was from the Sze Yup area of Guangdong Province, the origin of many of these laborers) she was unaware of the extent of the adversaries these early immigrants had faced. Shocked by these injustices and encouraged by the resilience that Chinese immigrants showed, Dr. Pan decided to focus her research on these people. She began searching for resources describing the lives and experiences of the early Chinese American immigrants, laborers, and families.

In time, Dr. Pan became intrigued by the 1906 earthquake and its impact on San Franciscoís Chinatown, eventually choosing this topic for her dissertation. It was published in 1995 by Peter Lang Publishers.

More information »


Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Chinese Historical Society of America
965 Clay Street
San Francisco, CA 94133


Erica Pan is one of the few scholars who have specifically examined the impact of the quake on Chinatown.


General public


Marisa Louie, (415) 391-1188

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