Noah Allyn is the We Are Colorado writing intern at History Colorado. He is currently working to complete his Master’s degree in history at the University of Colorado Denver, where he studies United States history and immigration history. Noah has written about a number of topics related to the history of immigration, including Mexican, Vietnamese, and Chinese immigration to the American West, as well as Turkish immigration to Germany. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.
The Chicano/a movement—el Movimiento—emerged in the late 1960s alongside other civil rights movements, such as Black Power and the American Indian Movement. Although these movements represented different racial and cultural groups in the United States, they shared the overarching goals of the empowerment of, and civil rights for, underrepresented and oppressed peoples.
Maybe you’ve heard about noted Chicano leaders like Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales and César Chávez—and rightfully so. They were critical to the development of el Movimiento. Lesser known are the Chicana women who helped to make that movement possible.
Today, Colorado is home to some 24,000 Vietnamese American residents, many of them living in Denver’s metropolitan area. Although most Denverites are well aware of the presence of this community, many know little about the history behind the city’s ethnic Vietnamese population.
When Sài Gòn fell to the North Vietnamese in the spring of 1975, there was a mass exodus of refugees from the South. Between 1975 and 1992, over two million Vietnamese fled the country and nearly a million arrived in the United States. By 1990, Colorado was home to about 5,800 Vietnamese refugees.
Despite the myriad contributions that Vietnamese refugees have made to the city, their history in Denver remains largely unknown to the general public. My interview with Nga Vuong-Sandoval highlights this history.
Today, Denver’s LoDo is home to a number of thriving businesses, apartment complexes, restaurants, and art galleries. This area was once home to Denver’s Chinatown. Near modern-day Coors Field, Chinatown—also known as Hop Alley—formed along Wazee Street. It became the residential and business center of Chinese migrants living in the city in the 1870s. Despite this, there remains no trace of Denver’s Chinatown, with the exception of a commemorative plaque on the corner of Twentieth and Blake streets.