Coronado Chinese American Family Give Back to the Black Community That Welcomed Them

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Kevin Ashley
February 21, 2024

photo: The Thompson Livery Stables on the Coronado property of Black pioneers Gus and Emma Thompson

Gus(who was born enslaved in Kentucky in 1860) and his wife Emma Thompson were two of Coronado’s most important Black pioneers. The house to the right of the Stable is the old Thompson house built in 1895.

Lloyd Dong and Ron Dong, who grew up on, inherited and recently donated the Thompson property

In 1938, the Thompson’s rented their house to a young Chinese-American gardener, Lloyd Dong, and his wife Margaret, and the couple raised four kids in the rented home over the next 17 years. In 1955, Emma Thompson kept her deceased husband Gus’s promise, and sold the property to the Dong family, who still own the property today. The Dong family have said that there is no way they could have rented in Coronado in 1938 or bought in Coronado in 1955 as Chinese-Americans, and they owe much of their success in life to the opportunity the Thompson’s gave them.

Last night, at the launch of the Coronado Black History exhibit, two of the Dong children, Lloyd (age 82) and Ron Dong (age 87) were in attendance and made a stunning announcement. They said it is now time to “give back.” It was announced that they are in the process of selling the sizable property, and, in honor of Gus and Emma Thompson, who were pivotal to their family’s success, they are making a remarkable gift. They are donating their proceeds from the sale of this prime Coronado property to The Black Resource Center of SDSU, and(subject to SDSU Senate approval), the center will be renamed The Gus and Emma Thompson Black Resource Center, in their honor.


Emma Thompson's Coffee Shop and Bakery in Coronado, CA