It is a donation that recognizes one family’s will to help another get ahead at a time when neither were seen as full citizens in California, says historian Kevin Ashley. Emma and Gus Thompson, born into slavery in Kentucky, moved to Coronado and built a house and barn in 1895, before racial housing covenants. When the Dong family moved to the city in 1939, the Thompsons gave them a place to stay when no one else would, and in 1955, Emma sold the Coronado home and the barn to them. The Dongs, the first Chinese American family to purchase real estate in Coronado, are now selling their properties and donating $5 million of the proceeds to Black college students, and will work to have San Diego State University’s Black Resource Center named after Emma and Gus. “It’s time,” said Janice Dong. “We want to give back.”

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