Quincy’s History Takes New Turn With Asian Immigration

Source: The Boston Globe

On March 8, 1998 The Boston Globe reported, “To measure this city’s ethnic transformation, the Francis W. Parker elementary school in North Quincy is a good place to start.

For generations, the students who filled the Parker’s classrooms reflected the overwhelmingly white neighborhood around it. But Quincy has become a different city. An Asian migration that began as a trickle in the late 1970s picked up speed in the ’80s and continues to gain momentum through the ’90s has dramatically changed the look of the city.

At the Parker School today, children of Asian descent make up almost half the student body.

Citywide, enrollment of Asian children tripled in the past 10 years, approaching 20 percent of the 9,000 students in the system.

Asians are by far the city’s fastest growing and largest minority, easily surpassing the growth in the black and Hispanic populations, which make up only a small fraction of the 88,781 residents.

By the end of this year, if the population trend continues, one in every five Quincy residents will be a person of Asian descent.

Quincy, the City of Presidents, where granite quarries and the defunct Fore River Shipyard recall the city’s blue-collar heritage, will carry a new identity into the next century. The Asians of Quincy, no longer a quirky statistic, have settled in as the white population has declined, modestly but steadily… The change is remarkable given Quincy’s reputation through the 1970s and ’80s as a white, blue-collar stronghold not known as a welcoming place for minorities.

But in the 1980s, Asian families began moving in in significant numbers and kept moving in, focused on the standard American Dream — a house, safe neighborhoods, decent schools… Buddhists pray and worship inside the Thousand Buddha Temple, built two years ago near Quincy Point… churches are tailoring part of their ministry to the various religious faiths represented by the expanding mix of Asians in Quincy, including Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Baptists… Buddhists worship at the Thousand Buddha Temple on Massachusetts Avenue. The Rev. Samuel Chung, a Nazarene minister who came to Quincy last July from Los Angeles, is starting a ministery for Cantonese-speaking Chinese, which will be part of the Wollaston Church of the Nazarene on Elm Avenue in North Quincy.

Chung said the new congregation is set to hold its first service at the church on April 26. ‘I was directed here by the Lord, but I also wanted to come,’ said Chung, originally from Hong Kong. ‘The church will help answer a spiritual need.'”