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Napa dedicates park plaque to honor early Chinese laborers

100 people convened at the China Point Park in Napa, California on Monday morning to witness the plaque unveiling ceremony celebrating the contributions of Chinese laborers to the region’s wineries in the late 19th century.

The morning’s events featured a traditional lion dance performance and Daoist ceremony, intended to honor the spirits of those that had once inhabited in the valley, reported the The Napa Valley Register.

The schedule also spotlighted a panel of speakers from Napa and St. Helena Historical Societies, including various community leaders.

In the 1870s, many Chinese laborers arrived in Napa Valley as the region began to gain recognition in the global wine markets and received increasing sales.

The Chinese population jumped from 17 to almost 900 in the next two decades, stated the book Chinese in Napa Valley: The Forgotten Community that Built Wine Country, authored by John McCormick, which examines the history of Chinese workers in Napa Valley.

From tilling the grounds, harvesting crops to building wine caves, Chinese workers served a pivotal role in paving the way for Napa’s wine industry.

“The wine industry would not be here, as it is today, if they weren’t there,” McCormick said.

Robin Leong, former president of the Vallejo Napa Chinese Club, helped spearhead the effort to erect the plaque, according to The Press Democrat.

The China Point Plaque was designed by Hannah Henry, a local artist who designed the landmark as part of her initiative 100 Plaques Project to commemorate historical and cultural strands in California.

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