Great-great-grandson of Hom Yi Yoon
Interviewee: Anthony Hom (Great-Great-Grandson of Hom Yi Yoon)
Interviewer: Connie Young Yu and Barre Fong
Date: March 27, 2015
Location: Palo Alto, California
Length of the Interview: 5 minutes, 58 seconds
00:13 Yu: So Anthony, we are really delighted to be able to talk to you and to your father and wondered what your thoughts are about your connection to this history that was so central to the making of the U.S. and to the creation of Stanford.
00:27 Hom: Well, you know, I had always known about the history. I mean, I know my dad’s history. It was funny because when growing up I always knew he came from China, but he didn’t really tell us these stories about his great-grandfather until later. So all about the going back to China, going forward here, going back to China. And then, it didn’t always occur to me that there was a connection there, that I actually had a relative that was born in this country. And you know, I had seen different documentaries, I had seen the Belmore documentary, so it became more familiar to me. When I heard about the program, I think it was announced last year or so, that the railroad workers program was going to be here. If I didn’t do work with you, I probably would not have brought it up, that I had an ancestor that was a railroad worker. So it was just a chance meeting, that I would be talking to you about this.
01:34 Yu: And now that you make this connection, what are your thoughts?
01:40 Hom: It adds a little more dimension to my family. Something I didn’t expect really. It’s nice knowing that we have this kind of history and all the little stories that go in there that my dad has mentioned that really make our family history more interesting. We can see that we worked very hard. When we had a family that really stuck together and developed and, as you see today, I have a lot of cousins too, so we have a pretty big family.
Anthony Hom; Gary Hom (father); China; Belmore documentary; Chinese Railroad Workers’ Project (Stanford University); Chinese railroad workers
02:17 Yu: What about the link to the creation of the university?
02:22 Hom: It is rather ironic that I’m working here. My working here was just happenstance. I had no idea that I’d be working at Stanford. If you were to tell me when I left college that I’d end up working at Stanford, I–it’s not something that ever occurred to me. It just is through my life that I somehow, in the work I was doing, that suddenly I ended up at Stanford. Because it’s not related to what I was doing at all. When I left college, I was working at architecture.
02:53 Yu: Just realized we forgot to ask you to identify yourself. Can you just say your name.
03:00 Hom: Hi, I’m Anthony Hom. So anyways, so just by a series of things going on, I ended up finding myself working at Stanford. I’ve been here since 1996. And it’s very different work from what I had imagined I’d be doing. But the fact that I’ve been here for–I guess we’re looking at 18 years now–that I do like the work here at Stanford I’ve been doing. I do enjoy being at Stanford. I just love the environment. It’s quite different from the work I was doing when I was working in the private sector. And then I did know all about Stanford and the history of how this university was created. And all about the development of the railroad. So that was all familiar to me. I just couldn’t connect it to my family and that whole history together. Now I finally saw, coming to *inaudible*
04:07 Yu: Last thing is, when you were growing up, were you aware of the Exclusion Law and the laws against the Chinese.
04:13 Hom: I was not. I mean, when I was growing up, I mean–it’s just because at the time I had–I didn’t really think about the history of that time. Since I knew my dad came from China, I thought it didn’t really apply to me. So I didn’t really think that my family was part of that. And I didn’t really know it until later on, when I learned a little more during high school and college. And then watching more documentaries about finding out the history of the Exclusion Act. Plus I have some relatives that know a lot about the history of Chinese in San Francisco, and I’ve talked about the laws. I have an aunt that actually gave tours in San Francisco Chinatown, and she would talk about the history in Chinatown and about how things like–at one time Chinese men weren’t allowed to buy property, and they had to stay in Chinatown area and they could not leave that area. It was just slowly building away–I figured I learn more and more each time. As time went on.
05:22 Yu: Where did you go to high school?
05:25 Hom: I went to high school–I grew up in Foster City and I went to high school at San Mateo High. Then I went to college. I spent a year at University of Southern California, and I spent the rest of my undergraduate time at UC Davis.
05:40 Yu: Thank you so much. Thank you for connecting us with your relatives. Such a joy. *inaudible*
Anthony Hom describes his connection to Stanford University and its history, his learning about the Chinese Exclusion laws, and his high school education.
Stanford University; Chinese architects; Anthony Hom; Chinese Exclusion Act; Chinese documentaries; San Francisco Chinatown; Chinese property laws; Foster City; San Mateo High School; University of Southern California (USC); UC Davis
Chinese Americans–Employment–California; Chinese American architects; Housing, Discrimination in; Chinese American–History; San Francisco Chinatown (San Francisco, Calif.); Chinese American children–Education
All materials on these pages © Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford.