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Chinese Family Donates $5M to Black Students to Honor Couple That Gave Them a Start

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In 1939, the Dongs, a Chinese American family in Coronado, California, found themselves unable to rent a house amid racially restrictive housing laws that favored white buyers and renters.

Emma and Gus Thompson, a Black entrepreneurial couple in town, allowed the family to rent and eventually buy their Coronado property when nobody else would. Now, to thank the Thompsons for helping them get a toehold in American society, the Dongs are donating $5 million to Black college students using proceeds from the sale of the house.

“It may enable some kids to go and flourish in college that might not have been able to otherwise,” Janice Dong, 86, said about the plan to sell the family home they later purchased, as well as an adjacent property.

The Dong family will also work to have San Diego State University’s Black Resource Center named after Emma and Gus, who was born into slavery in Kentucky.

Lloyd Dong Jr., 81, said the Thompsons gave their family a start with the land, and it is time for them to do the same for others.

“Without them, we would not have the education and everything else,” Lloyd Dong Jr. said.

The Dong family’s Coronado properties include the Thompsons’ original home at 832 C Ave. and an eight-unit apartment complex next door. Family members estimate the combined value to be worth $8 million. Lloyd Dong Jr. and his older brother, Ron Dong, plan to donate their portions — $5 million.

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Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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