The Chung Mei Home for Chinese Boys was founded in Berkeley in 1923 and operated in El Cerrito from 1935 to 1954, but it was only this year that its historical significance received official recognition.
A reception tonight at El Cerrito City Hall celebrated the finding that the site of the former orphanage is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Also on display were bound copies of the home’s newsletters from 1928-44, recently donated to the El Cerrito Historical Society.
Several alumni of the home attended the reception and described their memories of life there to those in attendance, much of it involving the discipline and values stressed at the Baptist-sponsored Chung Mei.
In the video above, Paul Chan, now a Dublin resident, recites from memory the Chung Mei alphabet the boys had to repeat each day, each letter standing for a desired virtue.