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Our victories, obstacles and leaders

Discover additional specific info on the many links (outlined in "red" or "blue") listed below


Americans have long stereotyped
19th Century Chinese immigrant women as prostitutes, and as with all stereotypes, the characterization contains some truth. In the first revealing article on Chinese immigrant women, Historian/Author Lucie Cheng estimated that the proportion of prostitutes among the Chinese female population in San Francisco was 85 percent in 1860 and 71 percent in 1870. These lurid numbers fueled anti-Chinese agitation in California, resulting in enactment of the Page Act of 1875 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which excluded most women by portraying them all as prostitutes. Page Law bars entry of Chinese, Japanese, and "Mongolian" prostitutes, felons, and contract laborers.


The American Medical Association sponsored a study to investigate assertions that Chinese women were spreading a unique, "Chinese" strain of syphilis. Though the study found no evidence to support the claim, one medical publication, The Medico- Literary Journal, nevertheless accused the Chinese of "infusing a poison in the Anglo-Saxon blood."


Founded in 1876 as Chinese Presbyterian Church by the Rev. Ira M. Condit, a former missionary to China, True Light's history is synonymous with the history of the Chinese in Los Angeles.

Condit began the ministry with children whose parents worked in Chinatown's laundries, produce markets and restaurants. The parents were delighted to send their youngsters to Condit for free tutoring and baby-sitting.

"Little did they realize that God was at work to use those opportunities as a way to grow a Chinese Presbyterian Church," Pastor Lai said. "When those children grew up and became Christians, they became the leaders of the church, and through their witness and influence, many of their parents were led to Christ," he wrote in a booklet on the history of the church.


In San Francisco, the
Gospel Society became the first Japanese American community organization on record. They provided services for the immigrant community, including English lessons, meeting rooms, and a boarding house. The Japanese Christian churches that were established in the 1890s grew out of this organization.


Anti-Chinese violence in Chico, California. Japanese Christians set up the Gospel Soceity in San Francisco, the first immigrant association formed by the


On October 27, 1878, addressing a mass meeting of New York City's tobacco workers engaged in the struggle to end tenement house production of cigars, Strasser, according to a news report in the Nov. 5 issue of the New York Tribune, made a speech in which he said that when the Chinese cigar makers in California began to crowd the whites out of the work, the latter succeeded in passing a State law requiring every cigar factory to affix on each box a union stamp, by which cigars made by white men could be distinguished from those made by Chinese; and the public showed their condemnation of Chinese work by refusing to smoke cigars made by Chinamen.

The Cigar Makers' Official Journal, a monthly publication of the CMIU, established in November, 1875, began to editorialize against Chinese cigar makers on a regular basis after November 8, 1877 when, in the midst of the tenement house work stoppage, the New York World printed the aforementioned false rumor that cigar manufacturers had requested that 300 Chinese cigarmakers be sent to New York City to replace the whites on strike.

According to the notes supplied by the editor of Volume I of the Gompers Papers, "The journal subscribed to the view generally expressed in the American press of the time that Chinese workers unlike other immigrant groups, could not be assimilated into American culture."

A central plank of what would become the Sinophobic and racialist ideology of the burgeoning AFL was put together by Gompers and Strasser, the latter of whom adopted the insidious "white label" as a national tool, analogizing the fight carried on by white California cigar makers against their Chinese fellow workers to his own ultimately successful effort to expel from that line of work the "tenement scum,"i.e., rival socialist cigar makers who had broken with the Gompers-Strasser faction and formed the Progressive Cigar Makers Union . . . . together with Gompers, to use Mink's way of wording the issue, "defended the anti-Chinese posture of their California colleagues and actively involved themselves in the exclusion movement."


In "re. Ah Yup" rules that Chinese are not eligible for naturalized citizenship.


One of the first
Chinese college in America. It taught Americans the Chinese language - it also provided chances to Chinese to study in America. Since the early 19th century, New England has been the Mecca for Chinese students and scholars.


California's second constitution prevents municipalities and corporations from employing Chinese. California state legislature passes law requiring all incorporated towns and cities to remove Chinese outside of city limits, but U.S. circuit court declares the law unconstitutional.

1879 - 1909  

Just as the Japanese were arriving in the United States, the development of irrigation in California opened the way for intensive agriculture and a shift from grain to fruit and vegetable production. Between 1879 and 1909, the value of crops from intensive agriculture skyrocketed from just 4 percent to 50 percent of all crops grown in California. This transformation occurred under a market stimulus created by two key technological achievements of the period-the completion of the national railroad lines and the invention of the refrigerated car. Consequently, for the first time perishable fruit and vegetables from California could be sold almost anywhere in the United States.

Japanese farmers were able to capitalize on these developments. As early as 1910 they produced 70 percent of California's strawberries, and by 1940 they grew 95 percent of fresh snap beans, 67 percent of fresh tomatoes, and 95 percent of the celery. In 1900, California's Japanese farmers owned or leased twenty-nine farms totaling 4,698 acres; five years later the acreage jumped to 61,858; and by 1910 it reached 194,742 acres. Even the California Alien Land Law of 1913, which prohibited "aliens ineligible to citizenship" from owning land or leasing it for more than three years failed to stem this trend.

By 1920 Japanese farmers owned or leased 458,056 acres. Despite protests from Japan, a U.S. ally in the First World War, a California initiative passed in 1920 closed the loopholes in the 1913 act, and Japanese landholdings dropped dramatically.


The Arizona Weekly Star ran an editorial in 1879 portraying them as " an ignorant, filthy, leprous horde." The Tucson paper, El Fronterizo, described the Chinese in 1892 as "the most pernicious and degraded race on the globe," and in 1894 as "a fungus that lives in isolation, sucking the sap of the other plants." This racism, and the fear of having to compete with Chinese workers for jobs, eventually led Anglo and Mexican laborers to violence. Chinese workers were attacked in railroad camps and mining towns. Instead of taking a stand against prejudice, the railroad and mine managers chose to phase-out Chinese laborers as a "solution" to the violence and unrest. By the early 20th century, the
Chinese had been driven out of Arizona's mines and railroads.

An editorial in The Santa Cruz Sentinel in 1879, for example, described the Chinese as "half-human, half-devil, rat-eating, rag-wearing, law-ignoring, Christian-civilization-hating, opium-smoking, labor-degrading, entrail-sucking Celestials."

Another California newspaper, The Dutch Flat Forum, struck a similar chord at the time. "Women of California," it asked, "why do you persist in having your dirty linen fouled by unclean hands, under the pretense of having it cleansed? Do you not know that (in these exciting times when the Chinese are losing employment, and naturally mad at the white race) you are taking desperate chances of having disease introduced among us that will render desolate our firesides? And in fact we don't know but that the diseases among our children during the past year, which have baffled the skill of our most eminent physicians, and depopulated many households, have emanated from the Chinese."

While Chinese immigrants fared better in Arizona Territory than elsewhere in the West, anti-Chinese feeling occasionally manifested itself in violence and threats of removal. More often, it ook the form of laws restricting the activities of Chinese residents. Territorial criminal court records indicate that as Arizona's Chinese population grew in the late 1870s and 1880s, new laws regulating laundries and opium dens brought more and more Chinese before the judicial bench. Many of these cases resulted in judgments against the defendants.

At the same time, Arizona's Chinese were hardly passive wayfarers in the courts. They hired attorneys to apply the law in their favor. If the Chinese had not challenged their arrests, very few cases involving anti-Chinese discrimination would exist in county superior court records. Many of these briefs appealed lower court rulings involving violations of opium laws, while a few challenged verdicts in assault and petit larceny cases. In some of these appeals, Chinese defendants directly assailed opium ordinances, laundry licensing, and other discriminatory laws, or objected to the discriminatory enforcement of such seemingly unbiased laws as selling cigarettes to minors. In doing so, they also challenged prejudice in late-nineteenth-century America.

Arizona Territory escaped most of the hysteria of the 1850s and 1860s that produced the foreign miner's tax in California and Idaho's monthly head tax, enacted specifically to discourage Chinese immigration. Following complaints about overcrowding, stench, disease, fire hazards, prostitution, and gambling in Chinatowns, California communities passed ordinances regulating Chinese laundries and limiting the number of residents in a dwelling.

Chinese laundries were a common source of complaint in many cities and towns throughout the West. Where racial hostility often barred Chinese from mining and manufacturing, many immigrants were forced to take the only jobs that remained - in restaurants, vegetable farming, laundries, and other service occupations. Ironically, whites who often benefitted from these services, particularly if no one else was willing to take the positions, became alarmed that the Chinese were taking away jobs and money. Prescott and Phoenix newspapers condemned the Chinese monopoly on laundries. They suggested that enterprising whites should open their own establishments in order to promote competition and, also, to discourage immigration.

For some whites, Chinese laundries were more than just an economic threat, they also endangered public health. Territorial newspapers frequently denounced washhouses as "public nuisances," where the "filthy practices of the Chinese in allowing pools of dirty and stinking water to accumulate around their laundries produce breeding places of disease which it is most wise to guard against." An 1896 article in the Tempe News lashed out against "the cesspools of Chinese washhouses," and described "the stench that arises from these places" as "something awful." Local governments responded to these complaints by enacting ordinances that regulated laundries as potential health hazards. "The action of the Common Council of Phoenix in declaring all wash houses in the city limits public nuisances, is commendable," the Arizona Gazette noted in 1881.

In Arizona and elsewhere, the Chinese followed a longstanding tradition of defending their civil rights. Ho Ah Kow v. Nunan , an 1870s California test case, established two important grounds for challenging anti-Chinese legislation:



Ah Lum (along with "China Mary" - his wife) and Quong Gee Kee owned one of the most famous eateries in Tombstone, Arizona - the stomping grounds of Wyatt Earp and his OK Corral gang - the Can Can Restaurant.

Quong Gee Kee
As a long time resident of Tombstone, he knew all of the infamous characters from the 1880's era, some who ate at Can-Can. "Wyatt Earp was a nice fellow," Quong had said. "Lot of times he was hard on other people. Sometimes he would shoot them up." Quong also knew Billy Clanton. "Nice boy, always paid his bills. Too bad he got shot down at the O.K. Corral."

Presumably from Hong Kong, Quong's first job in America was as a cook's helper in Virginia City, Montana. When Virginia City became a ghost town, he opened a restaurant in Stockton, California, saving his money to return to Hong Kong. He made the trip back to Hong Kong where he got married and bought a home. Eight months later he left his pregnant wife to return to America. Quong planned to earn enough money to take back to Hong Kong to comfortably support his family. Once back in America, Quong ran a prosperous restaurant in Wilcox, Arizona called "Hindquarter." Then Quong was lured to the new boom town, Tombstone.


Construction of a transcontinental railroad through Arizona brought in hundreds of Chinese construction workers. By the time the railroad was completed in 1880, the Chinese had settled into nearby towns. They were attracted to Tombstone's silver boom and worked there as cooks, servants, launderers, gardeners, woodcutters and charcoal manufacturers. Between 1879 and 1886, 500 to 800 Chinese lived in Tombstone.

Whites, or "round eyes," opposed the Chinese. On July 24, 1880, the first anti-Chinese meeting was held. Adversaries proclaimed "John Chinaman Must Go!" and threatened to use violence. But the Chinese refused to leave and, fortunately, no action was taken - even though, at one time, the Tombstone's Bird Cage Theatre staged a burlesque play, "The Chinese Must Go."

Although the white settlers frowned on the Chinese' strong cultural ties and apparent opium use and gambling, they abhorred them for not supporting the local economy. Chinese seldom patronized town businesses, imported their clothing and food from China and monopolized services by charging menial wages. When silver mining operations curtailed in 1886, most Chinese left Tombstone to seek jobs elsewhere.

Aside from the graves, few remnants of the once-thriving Chinese community in Tombstone exist today. Big Nose Kate's Saloon has a preserved front page article from the Tombstone Epitaph of Quong's funeral. Every October Tombstone's "Helldorado" commemorates the shooting at the O.K. Corral with re-enactments of various gun battles. One scene portrays an outlaw named Rook who refused to pay for his meal at a Chinese restaurant, then severely beat up the proprietor. The unidentified Chinese grabbed a gun and shot and killed Rook, in the only known incident of a Chinese shootout in Tombstone.

Like the other Chinese, he wasn't interested in shootouts and gun battles. Quong was notoriously kind to his customers. When five rowdy cowboys rustled up the restaurant (wild after months of isolation on the range tore up the restuarant, Quong chose not to have them arrested - ignoring the advice of his friends. "They'll come back and pay up," he inferred. "If I arrest them, I'll lose five friends and good customers." A week later a shamefaced cowboy approached Quong. "We acted like a bunch of fools," the cowboy said. "Me and the boys would like to pay you for busting up the place."

When the mines went bust and Tombstone became a ghost town, Quong's restaurants in Pearce, Charleston and Tombstone closed. People owed Quong money from doing business at the Can Can Restaurant and his two other restaurants out of town. Because of his generous nature, he had more money on the books than in the registers, but he still refused to sue people who owed him money because, as he put it, it would only make the lawyers rich and lose him friends.

Only a few Chinese like Quong Gee Kee remained after 1886 when the mining operations ended. During his final years, Quong rambled the streets of Tombstone. Sadly, he gave up any hopes of returning to Hong Kong. He never saw his son.

In January, 1938, Quong was found unconscious on the floor of his home by Marshal Hal Smith. He was rushed to the hospital in Douglas where he passed away early the next morning. For some unknown reason his body was rushed to Bisbee where it was buried in a pauper's grave in the Evergreen Cemetery.

Despite all his friends, Quong died penniless. But since he was such a well-liked figure in Tombstone, his friends collected a sizeable fund to bury him in style at the historic Boothill Cemetery right next to China Mary (as he had requested) where some 500 people showed up for his burial. Since Quong always claimed to be 10 years younger than he was, when he died in 1938 at age 86 - he might have really been 96. Quong was Tombstone's last Chinese resident. His funeral at Boothill was the first since China Mary died in 1906.

Tombstone's China Town was run by Mrs. Ah Lum, "China Mary", who, as her grave marker reads, was "Born in China, Died in Tombstone Dec. 6, 1906, Aged 67 Years." As many as 500 Chinese lived in Tombstone, operating businesses and working in the mines following their release from railroad construction in the 1870s.

China Mary arrived in Tombstone in late 1879 or early 1880. She was a woman of copious frame who wore heavy brocaded silks and rare jewelry. Ah Lum's wife, known as China Mary, was the official queen of Tombstone's Chinatown - which at one point had upwards of 500 people. She had connections to China, imported opium, kept a stable of servants who were guaranteed not to steal, and took in the injured, poor and down-and-out.


Tombstone was founded by a immigrant prospector, Edward L. Schieffelin, who set out from Fort Huachuca in 1879. Having been warned he would find "nothing else but his tombstone," he discovered silver ore and named the site Tombstone. Mining accelerated in 1887, one year after Geronimo's surrender. Tombstone became a mining boomtown with a population of more than 5,000 fortune seekers. 110 liquor licenses were issued in 1892 and Tombstone quickly became the place of Western folklore and fact. Several historic buildings still stand, including the Crystal Palace Saloon and the Bird Cage Theater, it's walls riddled with 140 bullet holes. Tombstone is most known for it's notorious residents, legends such as John Heath and Wyatt Earp.
Nobody knew her real name or where she was from in China. She married Ah Lum - co-owner of the Can-Can Restaurant with Quong Kee ("Worshipful Master of the Chinese Masonic Lodge") and the two forged power in Tombstone's Chinese sector, which the round eyes called Hoptown. China Mary provided houseboys, servants, maids, launderers, gardeners, cooks and, allegedly, prostitutes or slaves. Only through "China Mary" could townspeople hire a Chinese. She often helped the sick, injured and hungry and even loaned money to strangers who seemed honest. Once she paid for an injured cowboy's medical bills.

Few women in the American West had as much dignity as China Mary had during that time. Her decisions went undisputed and nobody dared to disobey her. No Chinese could be hired except through China Mary; none could be paid: except through China Mary. She also controlled Chinese prostitution and all the opium trade in town. She owned an interest in most Chinese businesses in Tombstone, too. Many believe that the Six Companies sent her there to oversee things and that her marriage to Ah Lum might have been political.

China Mary kept a well-stocked store of Chinese delicacies and art. She apparently ran a gambling operation in hidden rooms and supplied opium to Tombstone dens. A wild and impulsive person, once she dashed off to Tucson with the local blacksmith and was brought back to Tombstone by a cowboy her husband hired. Another time she and two tramps were arrested and jailed for theft and possession of stolen property. China Mary, with her connections in China, imported opium, kept a stable of servants who were guaranteed not to steal, and took in the injured, poor and down-and-out.

Despite that she was Chinese, her shady operations and quirky character - town folk respected and liked China Mary. She would lend money to anyone who impressed her as honest and hard working. No sick, injured or hungry person was ever turned from her door. She once took a cowboy with a broken leg to the Grand Central Boarding House and paid the bill until he recovered.


When the mining operation in Tombstone ceased in 1886, the obvious choice for the Chinese was to go to nearby Bisbee, where copper mining flourished. But they were not welcomed there. Chinese could sell produce in Bisbee during the day, but by sundown they had to skip town. A county judge passed an unwritten law forbidding Chinese from staying overnight in Bisbee. The exclusion was to prevent competition with local laundresses, most of them miners' widows who started laundry businesses to support themselves.

But it was a petty reason to exclude the Chinese. Bisbee was a white man's mining camp, giving preference to Anglos, many of them Europeans. Even Mexicans were underpaid and could not work in the mines. Chinese were at the bottom of the pecking order, enduring harsh discrimination.

She was the absolute ruler of "Hoptown" and all its denizens. China Mary not only ruled them but also virtually owned them body and soul. Her word and her decisions were undisputed law, and no one disobeyed. No Chinese person could be hired except through China Mary; none could be paid, except through China Mary. She also controlled Chinese prostitution and all the opium trade in Tombstone, and owned an interest in most of the Chinese businesses in town. It was extremely unusual for a woman, any woman, to occupy such a position in the American West.

When she died in 1906 at age 67, her funeral was well-attended. As she requested, she was interned at the Chinese section of Boothill instead of following the Chinese tradition of having her bones shipped to China and buried there. Her funeral had all the pomp and ceremony of a lavish Chinese extravaganza. Ah Lum was remarried to a Mexican woman and died in 1906.

Note: Other Chinese such as Sing Wan, Hop Lung and others were buried in the far corner of Boothill Graveyard. The cemetery overlooks Tombstone, Arizona, where during its heyday in the late 19th century, a Chinese community thrived. Yet, the Chinese who toiled in the dusty, desert town seldom made the annals of American history. Tombstone is best known for its famous shootout, Wyatt Earp and Billy Clanton at the O.K. Corral.


California's oldest parade is the key feature of the annual two day Bok Kai Festival in historic downtown Marysville. Each spring, the Bok Kai Temple is visited by Chinese from throughout the United States, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The Temple, built in 1879 by Chinese immigrants, houses many gods, but the primary god is Bok Eye.


Sit Moon was a Chinese immigrant who converted to Christianity and worked for 15 years in the Presbyterian Mission of San Francisco. He was hired by the YMCA in 1875 to evangelize the Chinese laborers in Hawaii. Two years later, he founded "the Chinese YMCA", You Hawk Jihu Taw Hui (the Beginning Evangelical Society of Learners).


Chien Lung came to America in 1880 as a teenager. He learned English at the First Chinese Baptist Church and later became one of the most successful farmers in the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta area. In history books, he is referred to as the "Chinese Potato King" who made a fortune until the Alien Land Laws forced him to sell his land in the 1920s.


The first international student for Duke was
Charlie Soong who later became the patriarch of the "Soong Dynasty" in the pre-communist era of China. Also known as Yao-Ju Soong in Chinese, he enrolled in Trinity College, then still in Randolph County, from 1880 to1881 under the sponsorship of Julian S. Carr, but later transferred to Vanderbilt University and graduated from there.

Charlie Soong was a stowaway from Boston (via China) who was befriended by a wealthy humanitarian named Gen. Julian S. Carr, of Durham, who gave the boy the benefits of an education. Charlie was sent to Trinity College, about the same time Oldham left for the Hillsboro Military Institute. This Chinese boy became in time the head of the famous "Soong Dynasty" in China, and the father of the Soong sisters, all three of whom became the wives of China's most notable leaders, including Chiang Kai-shek.


It is generally agreed among scholars that the 19th Century Los Angeles Chinese Memorial Shrine is the oldest Chinese American structure in the City of Los Angeles-it may also be the only city landmark recognizing the history and contributions of Chinese Americans.
Memorial Shrine in 1962 The Shrine, built in 1888, is recognized as the earliest structural evidence of Chinese culture in Los Angeles and was declared Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 486 on August 31, 1990. The Chinese Historical Society purchased the Memorial Shrine and the land (204 N. Evergreen Avenue in Boyle Heights) on which it stands on September 17, 1992 to preserve the artifact. Phase One of the Chinese memorial's conservation-construction of a protective wall, wrought-iron fence, steps and a gate-was completed in June of 1995 Phase Two- reinforcing and refurbishing of the monument's structural elements and recreation of its center stone or stele-was completed in June, 1997. Dr. Munson Kwok of the Society remarked, "These pieces of stone bond us to our pasts."

The History of the Shrine
The Chinese memorial shrine in Evergreen Cemetery was built by the people of Los Angeles' Old Chinatown in September of 1888. It consists of two 12-foot-high "kilns" or furnaces that flank a central altar platform. A memorial stone or stele once stood atop the platform; it was removed from the ground where it had fallen and is in storage. The monument is approximately 1,000 square feet.

Los Angeles' Chinese American pioneers burned gold and silver paper-symbolizing money-and the deceased's personal effects and favorite clothing in the Shrine's furnaces. This was said to encourage a comfortable transit to the next life or afterlife and the well-being and abundance of the departed. Elaborate presentations of foods such as a whole roast pig, poultry and other meats, fruits, potable spirits, and joss sticks were placed on the altar at burial and during seasonal rites such as Ch'ing Ming (Chinese Memorial Day), and Ch'ung-Yang Chieh (Hungry Ghosts or All Souls' Day). Memorial Shrine in the 1890's

The Memorial Shrine stands on 9 acre of land that LA City operated as a "Potters Field" or indigent graveyard. Upon start of operations, the Los Angeles' Chinese community adapted a section for its own use that became the City's first dedicated Chinese cemetery. The City sold the 9-acre parcel to the County of Los Angeles in 1917 and there were no further burials in that cemetery after 1924.

In 1937, all recorded Chinese burials in the County Cemetery were returned to China in a joint effort between the Ning Yung, Yin Hoi and Kwong Chow Associations. However, Ch'ing Ming, where families visit ancestors' tombs, clean the grave, and lay out a feast or picnic; along with observance of Ch'ung-Yang Chieh, Hungry Ghosts' Day or All Souls' Day, continued at the Chinese Memorial Shrine in Evergreen Cemetery until approximately 1965.

In 1964, Evergreen purchased back from the County of Los Angeles most of the 9-acre strip it donated to the City in 1877. Evergreen prepared this section, including the Chinese portion, for new burials by covering it with 8 feet of soil.

In 1992, the Chinese Historical Society produced documents from the Los Angeles County Archives proving that in the County Cemetery a fee was charged for Chinese burials, but not for others.


The "ethnic cleansing" of Chinese (including Chinese-Americans) from the American West was one of the darkest chapters in our nation's history. Writes John Higham in Strangers in the Land, "No variety of anti-European sentiment has ever approached the violent extremes to which anti-Chinese agitation went in the 1870s and 1880s." Many of the estimated 200 American lynchings victimizing people of Asian descent occurred during this dark era.

In 1880, many Chinese lived in Hop Alley, Denver's Chinatown. In October of that year an anti-Chinese riot resulted in the lynching of a Chinese man and the injuring of many others. A mob of approximately 3000 people had gathered in Hop Alley, consisting of "illegal voters, Irishmen and some Negroes." Only 8 Policemen were on duty at the outbreak of the riot. Firemen brought in to disperse the crowd hosed them with water but this only made them angrier. The mob began to destroy Chinese businesses, to loot Chinese homes and to injure many Chinese.

According to the Rocky Mountain News, the Chinese quarter was "gutted as completely as though a cyclone had come in one door and passed out the rear. There was nothing left...whole." During this vicious mob attack, a man named Look Young, was dragged down Denver's 19th Street by rioters.

According to a physician, he died "from compression of the brain, caused by being beaten and kicked." Look was twenty-eight years old and employed at the Sing Lee Laundry. He left behind a wife, father, and mother in China, who were wholly dependent upon him for support.


U.S. and China sign treaty giving the U.S. the right to limit but "not absolutely prohibit" Chinese immigration. Section 69 of California's Civil Code prohibits issuing of licenses for marriages between whites and "Mongolians, Negroes, mulattoes and persons of mixed blood." In 1933 the law is amended to include Filipinos and in 1948 the law is finally declared void.


Exclusion Act was the first federal attempt to limit immigration to the US by nationality. The Exclusion Act stated that no skilled or unskilled Chinese laborer could enter the US for ten years; however, certified merchants, students and itinerants could be exempted. This was officially put in action during the 47th Congress that "An act to execute certain treaty stipulations relating to Chinese" (approved May 6, 1882). The Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from December, 1881 to March, 1883. Vol. XXII, pp. 58-62 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1883.) In 1902, the provisions of the Act were extended in hopes of permanently excluding Chinese labor. In hopes of assuming one of the "privileged identities" that would allow entrance into the US, hundreds of Chinese were detained on Angel Island where they were subjected to harsh interrogation. In the end, only one in four immigrants were allowed to land. Some immigrants spent as long as two years on Angel Island waiting and hoping to gain entrance. The Chinese Exclusion Act halts Chinese immigration for 60 years. Chinese community leaders form Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA or Chinese Six Companies) in San Francisco.

By 1880, Reconstruction was defeated and the federal government joined the anti-Chinese movement. It legalized Jim Crow, reversed the Civil Rights Act, and negotiated a new treaty with China that paved the way for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

In the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Alien Land Laws of the 1910s (which deprived Asians of the right to own land), the U.S. racial system also settled on its basic racial categorization of Chinese and other Asians: that of being "aliens ineligible to U.S. citizenship."

This definition applied only to Asians and became the perfect legal grounds systematically to identify and discriminate against them, a racial category of a distinctive type. This category was new in that it incorporated a non-indigenous, non-white, non-black group into the U.S. racial system. It was also new in that the terms "aliens" and "naturalization rights" explicitly incorporated nationality as well as "race" into it.

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was a culmination of the attempt to create a cross-class, nationwide white consensus to define legally the Chinese place in U.S. life, thereby forcing the country to come to grips with how to handle the intersection of race and nationality. For the first time in U.S. history, a group was excluded from immigrating by (white) immigrants and former immigrants themselves. On one hand, the act was clearly based on nationality, as it excluded a group from immigrating to this country. On the other hand, it was clearly racial: it excluded the Chinese specifically because they were not white. Once verging on 20 percent of California's population, the ensuing anti-Chinese riots and Exclusion Act drove most Chinese laborers out of the country and prevented their reentry.

In the fifty years to follow, the U.S. forced every Asian nationality to follow virtually the same pattern as the Chinese. At first, a significant wave would be allowed entry to serve as racially coerced, cheap labor, especially for California agriculture, then the group would be excluded. The 1917 Immigration Act denied Asian Indians entry. Despite the rising power of the Japanese in the Pacific, Japanese nationals were excluded from the United States by the Immigration Act of 1924 which barred the entry of "aliens ineligible to citizenship." By extension, this act also served to exclude Koreans, as the Japanese colonial administration in Korea applied it to them.

Paper Sons and Daughters exception was the loophole in the law! It stated that any Chinese would not be denied entry if they could prove their citizenship through family ties. People, whose fathers were not in the US could bring papers which identified themselves as children of American citizens - hence "Paper Sons" or "Paper Daughters." Often official records were often non-existent, therefore, an interrogation process was created to determine if the immigrants were related as they claimed.

The single most important force behind the Chinese Exclusion Act was national politicians of both parties who seized, transformed, and manipulated the issue of Chinese immigration in the quest for votes.

For it is an undisputed fact that America's first labor historians took great pride in the role played by organized labor's exclusion of the Chinese worker not only from the United States but also and equally significantly in his (and her) exclusion from trade union membership and eviction from jobs once dearly held.

The anti-Chinese agitation in California, culminating as it did in the Exclusion Law passed by Congress in 1882, was doubtless the most important single factor in the history of American labor, for without it the entire country might have been overrun by Mongolian labor and the labor movement might have become a conflict of races instead of one of classes.

Rose Hum Lee's statement that America's Chinese immigrants "were excluded from skilled occupations by the labour unions' concerted efforts to bar them from shoe, textile, and tobacco making, heavy machinery and other industries." Nor does he acknowledge the comparative point to be made with respect to the allegation that Chinese workingmen were a peculiar species of "cheap labor," although Betty Lee Sung had done so some 31 years before his book was published: "The greatest antagonism against Chinese immigration in former years was directed against the threat of cheap labor."

"Not that the Chinese were different from other immigrant nationalities in this respect . . . But it was felt that because of the greater endurance and efficiency of the Chinese laborer, he was a threat to the job tenure of the white laborer."

Organized labor had, in the words of the labor paper Carpenter, which Gyory quotes approvingly, regarded the Chinese as "dangerous to public health and human decency," but not opposed their immigration provided that it could be proven to be voluntary. Indeed, they only railed against "their importation in hordes, under slavish contracts made in their native country, and held sacred by their religious fears."

From 1897 to 1902, Terence Powderly, former head of the Knights of Labor and an outspoken Sinophobe, served as Commissioner General of Immigration and in 1900 was placed in charge of appeals arising out of the enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Act and its subsequent modifications.

Two years later, he was replaced by Frank P. Sargent, grand master of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and a friend of Samuel Gompers, the notoriously anti-Chinese leader of the American Federation of Labor, who served until 1908, and he in turn was succeeded for the next five years by Daniel Joseph Keefe, president of the longshoreman's union and a former vice-president of the AFL.

By and large, the men who founded, administered, lobbied, and conducted the meetings and conventions of America's labor unions favored the elimination of the Chinese worker from the labor market as well as the exclusion of the Chinese people from the United States.

The Chinese became not merely the indispensable enemy of Irish workers' opportunities, but also morally inferior people, those farthest down, but, more significantly, the people to be kept out of the labor movement and the country itself. The few Irish-Chinese marriages that had occurred in the early decades of Chinese arrival in the city came to be regarded thereafter as a threat to white civilization. Further, Tchen shows, after Irish minstrels, comedians, and actors began to add scathing stereotypes of Chinese to their popular variety shows in the Bowery, in the process providing Irish workers with a legitimation of their belief that there was a people further down in the social and moral scale than themselves further down, that is, than the Anglo-American Protestants held them to be they facilitated their own ascent into the economically and politically privileged "white" race, leaving behind both black laborers and their erstwhile fellow workers, the Chinese.

Congress passed this law to permit teachers, students, merchants, and tourists to enter the United States, but it stopped the immigration of laborers for ten years. It also stated that no Chinese could become a naturalized American citizen. This was the first of several Chinese Exclusion Acts passed by Congress. It severely curtailed Chinese immigration until 1943. By 1920, the Chinese American population shrinks by 40% as a result.

As the Western frontier matured, the growth of industry gave rise to a white laboring class. Those with grievances against capitalist exploitation found a convenient scapegoat in the Chinese. Finding big business too powerful to fight, working class Americans struck instead at the Chinese minority.

November 3, 1877 Letter from the Six Chinese Company to mayor of San Francisco was told the Chinese question. On the Chinese Exclusion Page 32 " Political careers balanced on the scale of the Chinese Question. The Chinese Question was expressed in terms of race." Anti-Chinese riots and conventions occupied western politics for over several decades.

Lee York Suety, the son of a transcontinental railroad worker, Lee Wong San, was born in S.D., but his wife was detained in Angel Island for 16 months when she immigrated to the United States from China.

Forty-Seventh Congress. Session I. 1882
Chapter 126.-An act to execute certain treaty stipulations relating to Chinese.
Approved, May 6, 1882.
Preamble. Whereas, in the opinion of the Government of the United States the coming of Chinese laborers to this country endangers the good order of certain localities within the territory thereof: Therefore,

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the expiration of ninety days next after the passage of this act, and until the expiration of ten years next after the passage of this
act, the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States be, and the same is hereby, suspended; and during such suspension it shall not
be lawful for any Chinese laborer to come, or, having so come after the expiration of said ninety days, to remain within the United States.

To read the entire bill, click HERE

Additional sources regarding this can be found in the book that was published by the Philadelphia: Temple University Press in 1991 entitled "Entry Denied: Exclusion and the Chinese Community in American (1882-1943) that was edited by Sucheng Chan. Book contains the writings of Charles J. McClain and Laurene Wu McClain (The Chinese Contribution to the Development of American Law), Christian G. Fritz (Due Process, Treaty Rights, and Chinese Exclusion, 1882-1891), Lucy E. Salyer (Laws Harsh as Tigers: Enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Laws, 1891-1924), Sucheng Chan (The Exclusion of Chinese Women), L. Eve Armentrout Ma (Chinatown Organizations and the Anti-Chinese Movement, 1882-1914), Him Mark Lai (The Kuomintang in Chinese American Communities Before World War II), Wesley Woo (Chinese Protestants in the San Francisco Bay Area), Sau-ling C. Wong (The Politics and Poetics of Folksong Reading: Literary Portrayals of Life under Exclusion)


An example of how widespread and
strong anti-Chinese feelings were was the declaration by California Governor George C. Perkins making March 4, 1882. a legal holiday for anti-Chinese Demonstrations.


Lecturer, showman, activist, provocateur and journalist
Wong Chin Foo begins a weekly bilingual newspaper, the Chinese American. He is an outspoken critic of stereotypes held by Americans of Chinese and Chinese Americans. He wanted more than a new immigration law, more even than equal rights. For him it was also personal: he wanted respect.

He put the word Chinese American onto his newspaper like a banner and claiming America for himself. In the process, claiming America for the rest of the Chinese American community. More visionary than businessman, he printed eight thousand copies of his paper for a New York Chinese population of under a thousand. In less than a year, his venture was dead. But he wouldn't quit. In 1883, that great baiter of the Chinese -- their arch-enemy Dennis Kearney -- was touring the East. But Wong was probably the first to proclaim a New World identity Chinese American (the name of his short-lived weekly broadside, New York's first Chinese newspaper).

He (along with crusading newspaper editor and progressive opponent of exclusionism, Ng Poon Chew) was one of the first activists for Chinese citizenship and voting rights, these essays speak eloquently about the early struggles in the Americanization movement through the first influential and short-lived anti-exclusionist East Coast Chinese newspaper - appropriately entitled publication "The Chinese American." (Hua Mei Xin Bao). Wong Chin Foo stated "Remember the politician who lords it over you today is a coward. When you don't [have the] vote, they denounce you as a reptile; the moment you appear at the ballot box, you are a brother and are treated to cigars and beers."

In any true labor history of the late 19th century, Wong Chin Foo should be included, for he was the principal leader of the Chinese community's attempt to overcome the citizenship provisions of the Chinese Exclusion Act, and in 1892 founder and secretary of the Chinese Equal Rights League of America, an association of English-speaking Chinese dedicated to securing the civil rights of all Chinese in the United States. According to the New York Times, the League's members "wore American clothes, . . . patent leather shoes and white neckties, "thus displaying openly the lie of unadaptability broadcast nationwide by the spokesmen for the white labor unionists.


1882 Chinese Exclusion Law amended to require a certificate as the only permissible evidence for reentry. Joseph and Mary Tape sue San Francisco school board to enroll their daughter Mamie in a public school. Chinese Six Companies sets up Chinese language school in San Francisco. United Chinese Society established in Honolulu.


Labor unions in Butte ordered Chinese immigrants to leave town, with no results. In 1891-92 and again in late 1896 during another nationwide depression, the labor unions boycotted Chinese-owned businesses as well as businesses employing Chinese, blaming the immigrants for the adverse economic climate. Union flyers promoting the boycott, several of which are featured as document 1, were one means of notifying members and encouraging the general public not to patronize these establishments.

While many Chinese fled Butte, some merchants retaliated in federal court. In Hum Lay, et al. v. Baldwin, also known as the Chinese Boycott Case, an injunction to stop the boycott was sought by Chinese merchants. The court paperwork lists 132 Chinese names. The affidavit of Huie Pock and Quon Loy, testimony in this case, is the second featured document. The case was heard in the Circuit Court of the United States, Ninth Circuit, District of Montana, and contrary to the prevailing public attitude of the time, the court ruled in favor of the Chinese plaintiffs. The defendants were "enjoined and refrained from further combining or conspiring to injure or destroy the business of the said complainants or any of them and from threatening, coercing or injuring any person or persons becoming or intending to become patrons of said complainants." The Chinese also recovered costs of $1750.05 from the defendants for fees and expenses.

The relief sought was injunctive, which is an equitable remedy, so the court "sitting in equity" rather than "at law" provided relief in the form of prohibiting (enjoining) certain behavior (injunction) or causing the defendant to perform certain actions (specific performance) rather than money damages. In other words, the federal court listened to the grievances of a hated minority and ruled based on fairness rather than race. The union was ordered to stop their activities.


Canada imposed a discriminatory tax on Chinese immigrants between 1885 and 1923. The head tax was intended to discourage Chinese immigration after the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway by many Chinese laborers. Some 82,000 Chinese migrants paid the tax, which was set at $50 in 1885. It grew to $500 by 1903, the equivalent of two years' wages for many of the immigrants. In 2006, the Canadian government apologized for imposing this tax.


San Francisco builds new segregated "Oriental School."
Anti-Chinese violence at Rock Springs, Wyoming Territory. First group of Japanese contract laborers arrvies in Hawaii under the Irwin Convention.


Residents of Tacoma, Seattle, and many places in the American West
forcibly expel the Chinese. End of Chinese immigration to Hawaii. Chinese laundrymen win case in Yick Wo v. Hopkins, which declares that a law with unequal impact on different groups is discriminatory. In Seattle, Anticoolie riots of white workers broke out and the Chinese were evicted from the city in 1886.

Tacoma had the largest population of Chinese in Washington. In 1885, out of a total population of 6,900, more than 700 were Chinese. The mayor of Tacoma and other civic leaders agreed with the Knights of Labor that the city would be better off without the Chinese. The leading newspaper in town hoped that Tacoma would soon be known as "a town without a Chinaman." Threats against Chinese and vandalism against their property increased.

When tough economic times came, white resentment toward the Chinese grew. The Knights of Labor, a workers' union active in the Northwest, blamed the Chinese for low wages and few jobs. "Treason is better than to labor beside a Chinese slave," they said. Signs began to appear on the streets of Puget Sound cities stating: "The Chinese Must Go!" Some residents resented the sight of pony-tailed Chinese working in their conical straw hats. Tacoma, Seattle, Puyallup, Olympia and other towns called for the expulsion of the Chinese. Many Chinese led to Canada or Oregon in order to escape the mounting tension.

On November 3, 1885, an armed mob in Tacoma rounded up the Chinese and forced them onto a train bound for Portland. They stole property and burned Chinese homes and businesses to the ground. Seattle and several other Northwest communities followed suit. In Pierce City, Idaho, a mob lynched five Chinese men.

Portland had the largest population of Chinese immigrants in the Northwest, numbering between 6,000 to 10,000 people. The Knights of Labor organized anti-Chinese demonstrations and riots in Portland in 1886. Protesters smashed windows in Chinese shops and threatened the Chinese with violence if they did not leave the city. However, white business leaders resisted the Knights and soon crushed the anti-Chinese crusade. Still, many Chinese fled Portland, returning to China or moving to the eastern half of the United States where they were safe from the anti-Chinese fervor of the West Coast.


Lee Yick, a Chinese immigrant, had been operating a laundry in San Francisco for many years. At the time, it was against a city ordinance to operate a laundry in a wooden building without a permit. However, the Board of Supervisors had granted permits to all non-Chinese applicants except one, and none to 200 Chinese applicants.

After Lee Yick was arrested and convicted for violating the ordinance, his appeal reached the U.S. Supreme Court, where his conviction was overturned. According to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Matthews, the ordinance was applied in a discriminatory fashion.

The decision was the first time a law's application, rather than the law itself, was determined to be discriminatory. This precedent was used in the 1960s in cases seeking to strike down statutes which discriminated against African Americans.


Years later, the true story came out. A gang of white men ranchers and schoolboys -- had set upon ten Chinese miners, shot and beat them to death, then dumped their
mutilated bodies into the river. More Chinese arrived at the camp the next day and were promptly murdered. The killers then traveled by boat downriver, to another camp; by nightfall, thirty-one Chinese were dead. The leader of this group, Bruce Evans, was said to have told the others in the gang: let's do our country a favor and get rid of these Chinamen and let's do a favor for ourselves and get their gold. 1st day of brutal 2-day massacre of 31 Chinese miners in Snake River, Oregon. Covered up by officials, the case was not discovered until 1995.
Grip, 29 Oct. 1887 (cartoon by J.W.Bengough).


Wong Chin Foo's article "Why Am I a Heathen?" describes this racist cartoon. This racist depiction refers to the 1885 Chinese Immigration Act, which levied a $50 "head tax" upon non-Christian, Chinese male immigrants. For decades, Chinese immigrants faced constant, and often vicious racism.


"In the summer of 1887, 300 Chinese initiated a work stoppage in many Chinese-run firms . . . [seeking a daily] pay raise of $1.15 to $1.40 . . . full wages without being compelled to pay board to their employers," and, in some cases, cessation of the practice of fining workers for failing to meet the daily production quota, an end to night work, and the right to work in production groups composed of fellows from their own clan, village, or region. Of these demands, the compromise eventually reached allowed the workers to board themselves, but neither a wage increase nor the end of "mixed" work crews, nor any of the other demands were granted.

To break the strike, it should be noted, one of the Chinese firms brought in white strikebreakers. Franks likens these Chinese shoemakers to the more poverty-stricken members of the English working classes celebrated by E. P. Thompson


"While the
Chinaman is a natural-born thief and scoundrel, he is also the most superstitious of God's creatures," a Times reporter wrote in a breathless 1887 travelogue of the ghetto.

Most of the Chinese did not speak English. Politicians and newspapers seized on the anti-Chinese sentiments. The Los Angeles Times described denizens of the Chinese ghetto as "Celestials" and as the "the pig-tainted fraternity."

Los Angeles was home to an estimated 10,000 Chinese in the late 19th century almost all men who came to America to work on the railroads and ended up in desperate straits, crowded into a filthy Chinese ghetto near what is now Union Station.


Scott Act renders 20,000 Chinese reentry certificates null and void. 50th Congress passes Act to prohibit the coming of Chinese Laborers to the United States, even with a valid re-entry permit. The act bans immigration of working class Chinese for 20 years.


King and Legislature of the Hawaiian Kingdom passed this Act that Chinese were no longer permited to land in Hawaii unless they acquired a permit that was granted, signed, and sealed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. These permits were only given to non-laborers.


Chae Chan Ping v. U.S. upholds constitutionality of
Chinese exclusion laws.


Katsu Goto (1862-1889) was a merchant, interpreter and lynching victim. He spoke fluent English and was a contract laborer who took over a store in Hanokaa, Hawaii, a plantation village. His customers not only were Japanese, as he was, but also Hawaiian and Haole (white). White plantation owners disliked him, and his popularity with the community created competition with shopkeepers loyal to the white Protestant overseers. On October 19, 1889 a fire broke out at the nearby Overend Camp and Goto and seven other workers were accused of arson. But he never had a trial. On the night of October 28, Goto was ambushed by unknown persons and killed. His body was found swinging from a telephone pole the next day.


Spanish American War.
Seven Issei are among the 268 men killed aboard the U.S.S. Maine.


In Henry H. Markham's
1890 campaign for California governor, he vowed to keep the Chinese out of California. He used a red rose as his campaign symbol. Republicans also adopted the rose as their emblem, calling it the Markham ros

All political parties in this State agree upon the propriety of the exclusion of the Chinese, and are anxious that the law forbidding their importation shall be strictly enforced. The law is being constantly violated, and the influx of these people is very great.

Congress should be requested to take steps to enforce the law as it stands, to remedy the present law wherever it may be found defective, and to extend the date as far beyond 1892 as possible. Provision should be made for guarding the borders now almost wholly unprotected.

I also recommend that you request Congress to provide means, whereby the insane among the Chinese can be returned to their own country. You will observe by the reports of the Stockton Insane Asylum that there are now one hundred and thirty in the various institutions, who are cared for at an annual cost of $18,000, and are occupying room required for the comfort of our own citizens.

His lone term was anything but rosy, however. It was marked by economic depression, social change and labor unrest, including the Pullman railroad strike. And he vetoed a law giving California women the right to vote.


Chinese organizations, such as the Ying On Association, worked to assist members of the Chinese community when they were threatened by unfair, discriminatory business practices. By working as a group, the Chinese had leverage to help ensure a fair business environment for Chinese owned businesses. Their concern about fair business practices were very real. For example, in 1893 a petition was presented to the Tucson City Council proposing that Chinese businesses be segregated to a certain part of town. This measure was defeated, and Chinese businesses were free to locate wherever there was a need for their services or products. Ying On also acted as a support for elders in the Chinese community in settling disagreements between feuding family groups.


Nishimura v US 1st Supreme Court case involving person of Japanese ancestry. The Supreme Court rules that inspectors are not obligated to take testimony from aliens entering the US.


Saturday, August 1, 1891, Tucson's Arizona Daily Citizen announced the arrest of twenty-two local Chinese business men, each charged with selling cigarettes to a minor. The paper reported that City Marshal William Roche had notified the "celestials" that such sales were a misdemeanor, "but generally the warning was misregarded [ sic ]." Three days later, the defendants surprised the justice of the peace court by applying for a change of venue on the grounds "that it is impossible to secure justice before Judge [W.H.] Culver." Their petition was granted, but they were found guilty anyway. Undaunted, eighteen of the Chinese merchants appealed the judgment to the Pima County District Court.

If the Chinese had not challenged their arrests, very few cases involving anti-Chinese discrimination would exist in county superior court records. Many of these briefs appealed lower court rulings involving violations of opium laws, while a few challenged verdicts in assault and petit larceny cases. In some of these appeals, Chinese defendants directly assailed opium ordinances, laundry licensing, and other discriminatory laws, or objected to the discriminatory enforcement of such seemingly unbiased laws as selling cigarettes to minors. In doing so, they also challenged prejudice in late-nineteenth-century America.


32 Mott Street General Store was founded by the grandfather of Paul Lee (the current owner and community leader) since 1891 - making it the oldest business in New York City's Chinatown. Lee, who was born in Chinatown and now lives next to his store, is one of the community's most visible and effective leaders.


The very first class of
Stanford Universityin 1891 included six or seven persons of Japanese ancestry in that class. Apparently five or six were from Japan and one or two of were residents of the United States. There were international students at Stanford from the very beginning of its history.


Geary Law renews exclusion of Chinese laborers for another ten years and requires all Chinese to register.

Fong Yue Ting v. U.S. upholds constitutionality of Geary Law. The "Fond Yue-Ting v. United States," the Chinese community raises money to test the constitutionality of exclusionary legislation.

Fong Yue Ting v. United States, confirmed the right of the Congress to treat aliens as it wished. It became the constitutional bedrock for all subsequent questions as to Congress' rights in regard to immigrants and aliens. Fong and two other Chinese men were arrested for violating provisions of the 1892 amendments to the Chinese Exclusion Act.

The extension not only continued to bar Chinese laborers from American shores but required those already in the United States to obtain a certificate of residence from an internal revenue officer stating that they were legally entitled to be here.

A person of Chinese ancestry caught without such certification was to be deported by a federal judge unless he could prove with the aid of "at least one credible white witness" that he was a resident of the United States at the time of the passage of the law and that he had, for a valid reason, been unable to obtain the required document. Fong Yue Ting, though a permanent resident of New York City since 1879, had never bothered to register and was arrested.

Justice Horace Gray, summarizing for the Court, noted that another defendant who tried to get the necessary certificate could not do so because "the witnesses whom he produced to prove that he was entitled to the certificate were persons of the Chinese race and not credible witnesses." Justice Gray continued: Congress, having the right, as it may see fit, to expel aliens of a particular class, or to permit them to remain, has undoubtedly the right to provide a system of registration and identification of the members of that class within the country, and to take all proper means to carry out the system which it provides.

Later Courts have consistently reaffirmed the majority viewpoint in Fong that Congress has absolute discretion in deciding whom to admit, and whom to ban from, this country. And as if to underscorethe confidence that the majority had in its position, three years later Justice George Shiras, Jr., reiterated: No limits can be put by the courts upon the power of Congress to protect, by summary methods, the country from the advent of aliens whose race or habits render them undesirable as citizens, or to expel such if they have already found their way into our land and unlawfully remain therein.

Later Courts have consistently reaffirmed the majority viewpoint in Fong that Congress has absolute discretion in deciding whom to admit, and whom to ban from, this country. And as if to underscorethe confidence that the majority had in its position, three years later Justice George Shiras, Jr., reiterated: No limits can be put by the courts upon the power of Congress to protect, by summary methods, the country from the advent of aliens whose race or habits render them undesirable as citizens, or to expel such if they have already found their way into our land and unlawfully remain therein.

This racialization process was crucial to the first phase of the Asian-American experience, that of a racially coerced labor force. Asian Americans were systematically stripped of their political, economic, cultural, and citizenship rights and thereby condemned to be a vulnerable labor force that was made available to white capital at a price much cheaper than white labor.

Although the lower wages and substandard living conditions the Chinese were forced to accept certainly increased the profits of white capitalists, there was much more significance to the racially coerced labor force than short-term "superprofits." In fact, turning the Chinese into a racially coerced labor force was a fundamental condition for the development of capitalism in California.

At that time, labor was so scarce and land so plentiful that free people had better alternatives than to become wage slaves. As with slavery and sharecropping in the U.S. South, coercing people of color into serving as labor was central to the primitive accumulation and the early accumulation of capital in California; they were barred from owning land and forced to become the labor counterpart to (white) capital in mining, railroads, agriculture, and factories, which propelled California's booming economy and helped forge the first continent-wide national economy.

The racial cordoning of Asians also enabled non-capitalist whites to monopolize small businesses, independent trades and farms, and privileged positions within the workforce, not to speak of land, education, and political power.

A careful look at the "white workers" who led the anti-Chinese movement reveals that the most organized and vocal section were actually independent craftsmen or highly paid skilled workers, not regular wage workers, who in the nineteenth and early twentieth century commonly joined the same skilled craft unions and indeed dominated the U.S. trade union movement until the 1930s.

What they feared was that factory based capitalist industry or agribusiness, basing itself on semi-free Chinese labor, would successfully displace their small businesses or farms, independent trades, or highly paid skilled labor jobs: in short, that their small-scale petit bourgeois production and trades would be undermined by capitalist enterprises and they themselves might be proletarianized. Thus the status of Chinese labor became a significant issue in the class struggle between small, independent producers (miners, artisans, and farmers) and large-scale capitalist enterprises.

At the same time most unskilled white workers also joined the crusade to exclude the Chinese in order to increase their own employment opportunities and to fulfill their own concepts of white supremacy.

Rather than fight white capital for equality and build solidarity among all workers, white labor demanded the exclusion of Chinese labor from the country to advance the condition of white workers at their expense.

Here we had a classical racist trade union tradition: white workers (skilled and unskilled) banding together in unions and political organizations in the name of "Americanism" and "free (white) labor" to defend their privileges over non-white workers.

On January 17, 1893, a small group of businessmen - who were looking for a way to lift sugar tariffs - dethroned the Hawaiian Queen Lili'uokalani, with backing by three companies of the U.S. marines. They seized crown lands and ended Hawaii's independence.

A year later, the same group declared the "land" the Republic of Hawaii (Then-President Grover leveland ordered an investigation, which found U.S. diplomatic and military representatives had abused their power. Cleveland called on them to reinstate the monarchy. His orders, though, went largely ignored.


Lem Moon Sing v. U.S. rules that district courts can no longer review Chinese habeas corpus petitions for landing in the U.S.


Someone first tried to set fire to it in
May 1885. That attempt failed, but in May of 1895, a bomb was put under the floor of the school at night.

The second bombing of Ping Yang School happened in the winter of 1900. This was at the time when newspaper articles show a number of "negroes" and "Japs" coming in to work on the Mohawk railroad.

The third bombing of occurred on a hot July summer night in 1901, in a small community near Marcola, Oregon a school named Ping Yang was completely blown up by a bomb.

Less than three months before the final bombing in July of 1901, the Southern Pacific Railroad established a train station at the crossroads known as Mohawk and Ping Yang. The railroad wanted approval of all names of communities where it was creating stations. Thus the community of Mohawk or Ping Yang was renamed Donna, after a young local girl. The town of Isabel was renamed to its present day name, Marcola. The bombing of Ping Yang was a reaction against all this growth and the thousands of people who were coming to Marcola for jobs.

The school was about 12 miles east of Eugene-Springfield where the current community of Mohawk stands. Like many rural schools at the time, Ping Yang was a small schoolhouse with just one classroom. Each bombing was at night and no one was injured.

Ping Yang opened in early 1895. The community had been divided on building the school and one single-minded man polarized residents of the area. No one was ever arrested for any of the attacks which happened over a six year period - yet most people knew exactly who was responsible.

There were four attempts to destroy the school (three by dynamite and one by fire) over a six year period. There may have been "socially sanctioned" reasons why no one was arrested for the bombings. In 1895 the issues may have been the rapid growth and that some people were using the school for dancing - a practice condemned by many religious groups.

An early story about why the school was bombed was because they allowed dancing on Saturday night. Charles Irish, who came to the valley a just few years after the bombings said that one group of religious people objected to the dancing in the school. At that time most Protestant churches were against dancing of any type, while most Catholic churches allowed dances at their church. This may have been one motive for people involved in the 1895 bombing. By 1901 there was a restaurant in Mohawk and dances were held there. The story of people being angered about dancing may have come from the 1895 bombing, before other churches and other public building were established.


Wong Kim Ark was born in the United States to parents of Chinese descent. In 1894, he travelled back to China to visit his parents, who had returned to their homeland. Ark was barred from re-entering the U.S. because he was not an American citizen. However, the United States vs. Wong Kim Ark established guarantee citizenship for US-born children even if the parents are ineligible for citizenship.

Ark petitioned the Supreme Court, arguing that because he was born in the United States, he was a citizen. The Court agreed based on the 14th amendment of the Constitution, which stated:

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

This landmark case reaffirmed the legal right of citizenship by birth for all Americans.


Chinese newspaper, Wah Mei Sun Po, is founded by Ng Poon Chew.


Donaldina Cameron (a New Zealand-born Scot) assumed the leadership of the Occidental Mission Home for Girls started in 1874 by the Chinese Presbyterian Mission (later named Cameron House in the 1940’s), after being the former director’s (Margaret Culbertson) assistant in 1895. She perfected Culbertson’s rescue techniques and constantly sought/rescued girls (approximately 3000 during her tenure) in trouble because of the Chinatown’s “Yellow Slavery/Yellow Slave Trade” that was started in the 1870’s and flourished till the 1930’s.

A Different Story from Historian/Author Lucie Cheng
Lucie Cheng disagrees with Cameron's claim made in 1898 that she rescued 3,000 Chinese women. Cheng argues that the number according to her estimate and the mission home records was only 600 Chinese women (Judy Yung estimates in her 1995 book that it was about 1,500 using Pascoe's collection).
Lucie Cheng is the author of "Free, Indentured, Enslaved: Chinese Prostitutes in Nineteenth-Century America" published in Signs in 1979. As the title indicates, Cheng's research attempts to change the general assumption that all Chinese prostitutes were slaves. The word "prostitute" was used instead of a euphemistic term like "public women" to indicate the feminist view of prostitution as a profession. For more info, click HERE

In 1908, Donaldina Cameron in San Francisco had only one or two slave girls to rescue, and in one case, when Cameron went into a brothel with policemen to rescue the Chinese prostitutes, the Chinese on the promise did not even resist; she just took the women she found because the owners of this slave-girl were so intimidated by her.

Cameron blamed the Chinese Secret Society's total control of the trade for stopping her from rescuing more prostitutes
For more info, click HERE

The lucrative and ancient custom of slavery was transferred from China to California during the Gold Rush. Most of the female captives (between the ages of 3 to 18 years old and "imported in bulk") were sold as creatures/merchandise almost purely for the enjoyment of men (who outnumbered the women by 2000 men to every women of the Chinese population of 25,000 in California) as domestic dredges (the youngest girls), wives, concubines or prostitutes/”daughters of joy” with a life expectancy of five to six years while 90% contracting venereal diseases.

During the 1850s, these girls sold for between $100 and $500. By the end of World War I, prices had risen to as high as $7,000. Most of the girls were locked into tiny cribs -- narrow cells -- accommodated two to six captives behind barred doors. Crib girls usually emerged once a week to be paraded through Chinatown wearing dog collars attached to leashes. Unwanted children born to these girls were taken and sold into bondage.

Cameron's Mission Statement
They are the first Christianized and educated women to enter the Chinese communities in these places, so there are great opportunities for them to scatter the good seed they carry with them from the Home ... In their lives are the words fulfilled, 'I will sow them among the heathen and they shall remember me in far mountains.
For further info, click HERE

Donaldina Cameron retired in 1938. Four years later the Chinese Presbyterian Mission was renamed Cameron House in recognition of her unique achievements. She died in 1968 at the age of 98.

Emancipation Proclamation Excludes Chinese Females
Evidence indicates that the enslavement of Chinese immigrant women was the most widely known secret in the American West in the mid-19th Century. In the same era that Lincoln was signing the Emancipation Proclamation to freed black slaves in the Confederacy, Dorothy Gray, author of Women of the West, estimates that several thousand Chinese females a year were being smuggled through San Francisco's immigrant station to be sold into slavery. Public knowledge of the slave trade was such that, in 1869, the San Francisco Chronicle could report the arrival of a ship from China in this manner: The particular fine portions of the cargo, the fresh and pretty females who came from the interior, are used to fill special orders from wealthy merchants and prosperous tradesmen. A very considerable portion are sent into the interior... in answer to demands from well-to-do miners and successful vegetable producers.

Little Known Fact: Despite the 1909 Mission Home records showing that the rescued girls were about one-third Japanese, the Chinese prostitutes dominated the discourse and media attention at the time. San Francisco saw the Chinese bachelor society in its quick formation from the period of forbidden Chinese women, followed by forbidden Chinese family (bachelor society) and followed by forbidden workers (Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882).

The image of women as victims of Chinese tradition is a stereotype in which both Western scholars and Chinese May Fourth (1917-24) Western-educated intellectuals were complicit. During the May Fourth discourse, "women" became a figure for the struggle between tradition and modernity. "Women became the 'stand-ins' for China's traumatized self-consciousness." The result was to link the female body with the health and the strength of the nation by advocating the abolition of foot binding and other "traditional" social practices such as polygamy.

Influenced heavily by missionary reports and the wish to "modernize" China as the "White man's burden," and because many Chinese immigrant women were brought to the United States of America to be "hundred men's wives", the working class woman's image, especially that of the prostitute, dominated the American West. Gradually, women of the footbinding merchant wife's class were also viewed as slaves of male control and abuse.

Chinese prostitutes were associated with heathen practices, female infanticide, and viewed as the victims of the powerful and abusive patriarchy. The discourse on Chinese prostitutes in the American West is reflected in the American Protestant's early writings on women of China. Given the interest in "civilizing" the Chinese, it is not surprising that missionary reports on "women's status" in China emphasized their victimization and weakness. This discourse paved the way to justify intervention. Missionary views were also skewed by the fact that missionaries tended to work among the poor. Reports of Chinese women's subordination were thus used to alidate Western ideas about China's perceived cultural backwardness, which in turn justified the imperialist agenda. Footbinding, in particular, was denounced as a symbol of Chinese barbarity and an indication of the urgency of missionary interventions in China but prostitutes become the dominant symbol in the American West after the Page Act, whereby all Chinese women who applied to enter the United States of America were suspected being prostitutes

The Chinese prostitutes arrived in the United States during the Progressive Era. The medical-legal and moral discourse of the time soon prohibited their bodies as a site for pleasure. Instead they were incorporated into two generally constructed master images of the prostitute, both profane: one a ruined, destroyed, victimized body; the other, a destroying body, a disease that spreads and rots the body politic. With the rapid development of industrialization and urbanization, the prostitutes became a political subject to be controlled during this era. Chinese prostitutes were marked as the evil of the Chinese community and as "the foul, contagious disease," "a particular phase of the Chinese question", with their potential of "infusing a poison into Anglo-Saxon Blood." They were the first group from a different shore to be targeted by the first gender specified immigration law, the Page Act, because they were Chinese immigrants and because they were women. Other than the moral high ground generally used in the discourse and legal action against Chinese women in the Progressive Era, the control of Chinese women also met the purpose of controling the growth of the Chinese population in the United States.

The imperialistic ideology of the Christian mission was very clear; the containment of the Chinese women here in the American West became a part of the mission to save the Chinese race through Christianity. According to the formation of contained or ideologically converted Chinese women in Amerrica, they would be agents to change and contain China. The Chinese women here also served the purpose of submitting to the white women's power and boosting the White women's sense of superiority. All the literature of the mission home described Chinese women as "hidden away" or "heavily guarded" regardless of whether they were wives or prostitutes.

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In 1994, Benson Tong applied the methodology designed by Parent-Duchatelet, namely the taxonomy of prostitutes which served as a model for the British investigation of prostitutes from the 1840s to 1880s, to his research on the Chinese prostitutes of nineteenth century America. Tong produces the Chinese prostitutes as a new historical anthropological figure using such social science procedures such as professional testimony; personal observations recorded in the newspapers and private family papers; memoirs; interviews with administrative officials of the mission home and rescued prostitutes; archival research into business directories; fire maps prepared by the insurance companies; files of prisons, police, and hospitals; and the manuscript schedules of three U.S. census records on population, property deeds, and contracts. With these documents, Benson Tong reconstructs the stories of these prostitutes. He concludes that they were their own agents in some ways under an extremely difficult situation. They managed to make the best out it by struggling their way out of the trade to become the decent wives of Chinese men.

"Chung Liang" (become good) in Chinese being the most traditional route for women in prostitute class in China. Benson Tong concludes that within the 10 years from the 1870s to the 1880s, many Chinese prostitutes did manage to marry and left the trade. But his interpretation is not very convincing (see reviews of the book by Chan, 1998 and Wei, 1996). For instance, in applying two sets of statistics, one cited the congressional testimony of Rev. Otis Gibson saying "80.5 percent of Chinese women engaged in sexual commerce in 1870 had either left the business or moved out of the city by the 1880s" (Tong, 1994, p. 100), while another one, from Su-cheng Chan's study[6] on the 1880 census, stated "Based on her statistics, 2 to 4 percent of the married Chinese women fell into this [prostitute] category"

Benson Tong concludes that "The difference between Chinese and non-Chinese prostitutes is accounted for by the simple fact that only affluent people could redeem indentured Chinese prostitutes. Secured in a comfortable marriage, most Chinese women who left the trade rarely had to face the bleak prospect of returning to prostitution.

Given that most prostitutes' careers lasted only four to five years and given the bleak environment they were living in, there were various factors to be considered before any such rosy conclusion can be reached. In the 1870s there were 1,428 Chinese prostitutes working in 159 brothels in San Francisco; and in 1880, there were only 435 working in 101 brothels. There were various ways to interpret the figures, based on the immigration regulation and corruption, zoning ordinances, race violence and migration to the inner states, and high death rate of women in this trade.


annexes Hawaii. It is estimated that there were almost a million native Hawaiians at the time of contact with the West; at the time of annexation, fewer than 40,000 native Hawaiians were left. In 1897, 29,000 native Hawaiians signed a petition to Congress protesting annexation. There are those who favor that Hawaii be a soverign nation!


The Treaty of Paris ends the Spanish-American War. Spain cedes the Philippines to the US.
Filipinos resist the US takeover, and over 4+ years of guerrilla war follows. The United States began the invasion of the Philippines in that year (the war actually offically started in Feb. 1899), but the "War of Conquest" continued until U.S. military government of Moro Province ended in 1914.

Few Americans are aware of the atrocities committed by US soldiers dwarf those in the Vietnam War. Brig. Gen. Jacob Smith ordered a battalion of US marines to have all persons killed who are capable of bearing arms in actual hostilities against the United States," declared Smith, setting the minimum age limit at ten! Ironically, famous American writer Mark Twain responded in his autobiography: "This is incomparably the greatest victory that was ever achieved by the Christian soldiers of the United States."


 James Wong Howe was born
Wong Tung Jim on August 28, 1899 in Kwantung (Canton), China and moved to the US at 5. He tried being a boxer, then a delivery boy for a commercial photographer. In 1917, became an assistant cameraman Cecil B. DeMille and others. As a director of photography, established a reputation as an inventive and meticulous craftsman. In industry circles, Howe acquired the nickname of Low Key Hoe for his distinctive application of low-key photography. Howe also pioneered the use of deep focus and the hand-held camera. Howe won Academy Awards for his cinematography for The Rose Tattoo (1955) and Hud (1963). James Wong Howe died in 1976.


The origins of Japanese living in
Santa Monica date back to 1899 when a small community of immigrants, often referred to as Issei, developed around a fishing village in the Santa Monica Canyon. As the number of Issei increased and gave birth to Nisei, or second-generation Japanese Americans, the community spread throughout Santa Monica.


Congressman Dalip Singh Saund was the first among Asian Americans and also the first Indian American to be elected to the US Congress. Thus far, he is the only Indian American who has been elected to this honorable position. He was first elected in 1956 from 29th congressional district comprising of Riverside and Imperial Counties of California and was re-elected twice. Dalip Singh Saund was born on September 20, 1899 in village Chhajalwadi, Amritsar, Punjab.

They held services in both Japanese and English, and grew to become the Buddhist Churches of America.


Ahn Chang-ho (the father of Philip Ahn, the actor. a Korean intellectual, arrived in San Francisco to set up residence.

In 1903, he established the Chinmok-hoe, Friendship Society, the first Korean organization in the continental United States. Ten years later he founded the Hung Sa Dang, or Young Koreans Academy, many members of which were active in the Korean National Association.

Ahn went on to become one of the leaders of the Korean independence movement (Korean was occupied by Japan from 1910 to 1945), serving as secretary of the interior and later as secretary of labor in the provisional government-in-exile set up by expatriate Korean leaders in Shanghai (China) in 1919.

He was arrested by Japanese police in 1935 and died shortly after being released from jail three later.


Perhaps the most severe example of medical panic transforming itself into racial prejudice took place in 1899, when bubonic plague broke out in Hawaii. Though the disease hit whites as well as Chinese, the local board of health focused its efforts on the Chinese alone, placing them under quarantine, preventing them from sailing to the continental United States and burning down parts of Honolulu's Chinatown.

In 1900, officials in San Francisco followed Hawaii's example, closing Chinatown businesses, forcing Chinese residents to submit to inoculation and cordoning off the neighborhood with a nine-foot-tall fence — a quarantine that a federal court later ruled unconstitutional. San Francisco authorities also tried to raze and burn down Chinese neighborhoods; it took the combined efforts of the ethnic San Francisco Chinese community, their lawyers and China's ambassador to the United States to save the community from complete destruction.

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