Chinese American history
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Chinese American history
Websites related to the history of Chinese in North America
Curated by John Jung
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Chinese Laundrymen in Upper Michigan around early 1900s

Chinese Laundrymen in Upper Michigan around early 1900s | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
John Jung's insight:

The largest number of Chinese, between 30 to 60 depending on which decade, in Michigan from the 1900s to 1920s were in the northern most part of the state near Houghton, known as Copper Country.  It was a thriving copper mining community then, but as its fortunes declined, so did the Chinese population, which was nearly entirely engaged in the laundry business with a few gift shops and groceries.


"Little is known of the Chinese community in the Copper Country, but it appears to have been a microcosm of the larger Chinese American experience: serving the society while being excluded from it."

 

The three well dressed men were laundrymen, probably all bachelors since Chinese women were few, if any, there due to the Chinese Exclusion law.

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Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum

Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
Central Pacific Railroad construction in the 1860's.
John Jung's insight:

  An outstanding site about the Central Pacific Railroad, photographs, links to other sites and relevant research.


 In 1864, when progress on the construction of the western part of the transcontinental railroad was slow, the idea of hiring Chinese laborers was considered.

 

Originally thought to be too small to complete such a momentous task, Charles Crocker of Central Pacific pointed out, "the Chinese made the Great Wall, didn't they?"

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Vintage photos: Chicago's Chinese community -- Chicago Tribune

Vintage photos: Chicago's Chinese community -- Chicago Tribune | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
The early lives of Chinese immigrants in Chicago centered around Chinatown and its main streets of 22nd Street and South Wentworth Avenue.

Via NZ Chinese Genealogy
John Jung's insight:

Outstanding set of quality photographs of 1920s-1960s Chicago Chinatown that gives you the sights (and almost sounds) of life during that era.

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'22 Lewd Chinese Women' and Other Courtroom Dramas

'22 Lewd Chinese Women' and Other Courtroom Dramas | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
A U.S. circuit judge brings historic Asian-American trials back to life
John Jung's insight:

Note: This post includes several court cases involving woman, only one dealing with Chinese women.  That case, Chy Lung v. Freeman, involved nearly two dozen women who were aboard a ship that had sailed from China to San Francisco. Because the women were traveling alone, they were deemed by the California Commissioner of Immigration to be “lewd,” and therefore prostitutes. Only a bond of $500 in gold would secure the release of each woman....


Judge Denny Chin created reenactments of this court case, "22 Lewd Chinese Women," from an 1875 case that foreshadowed last year’s Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's immigration law.

 

 Along with questions about immigration and state-federal relations, 22 Lewd Chinese Women raises the issues of human trafficking, forced prostitution, women’s rights, and due process — all of which, as Judge Chin points out, are highly relevant today

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A Chinese American Historian By Chance

A Chinese American Historian By Chance | Chinese American history | Scoop.it

This article describing the exclusion of a Chinese girl from attending a white school in Georgia in 1910, is intriguing as she became one of the most powerful women in the world in the mid 20th century.

John Jung's insight:

A potpourri of news items, articles, and web resources on Chinese history in the U. S. and Canada. The incidents reported in historic newspapers provide vivid illustrations of the prejudicial societal attitudes toward Chinese, political and legal issues. and adverse living and work conditions of Chinese that are only hinted at in history books. 

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The Bowery Boys: Opium heaven! Fears of Chinatown, immortalized in dime novels.

The Bowery Boys: Opium heaven! Fears of Chinatown, immortalized in dime novels. | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
John Jung's insight:

Pulp fiction or "dime novels" as they were known as then, these sensationalistic comic books were popular in the decade of 1900s.

 

  Old and Young King Brady were detectives in one of  New York's most vicious and dangerous neighborhoods, Chinatown. In many issues of 'Secret Service', they would rescue helpless women taken captive in an opium den in Chinatown.

 

Thos sample of issue lurid covers depict Chinese as vicious and sinister villians engaged in tong wars or enslavement of white women in opium dens.

 

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Latest Amerasia Journal: Asian American Folklore

Latest Amerasia Journal:  Asian American Folklore | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
Latest Amerasia Journal Focuses on Asian American Folklore and Offers Insight on Richard Aoki
John Jung's insight:

"Asian American folk practices are living, breathing, and constantly transforming, not simply vestiges of immigrant pasts, as evidenced by articles examining topics that range from Asian American graphic narratives to origami, from Chinese American children’s folk literature to Chinatown architecture. 

In particular, Lee and Nadeau make a claim for a uniquely Asian American folklore that has its roots in Asian America, with ties to diasporic and transnational cultures that link Asian Americans to Asia from the past to the present."

 

Amerasia Journal costs $15 plus shipping/handling and applicable sales tax. Contact the Center Press for detailed ordering information.

UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press

3230 Campbell Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1546

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In the Shadow of Gold Mountain___ Chinese Canadian History

<iframe src="http://www.nfb.ca/film/in_the_shadow_of_gold_mountain/embed/player" width="530" height="345" ></iframe><p style="width:(( width ))px"><a href="http://www.nfb.ca/film/in_the_shadow_of_gold_mountain/" target="_blank"><em>In the Shadow of Gold Mountain</em></a> by <a href="http://www.nfb.ca/explore-all-directors/karen-cho/" title="more films by Karen Cho" target="_blank">Karen Cho</a>, <a href="http://www.nfb.ca" target="_blank">National Film Board of Canada</a></p>

Filmmaker Karen Cho travels from Montreal to Vancouver to uncover stories from the last survivors of the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act, a set of laws imposed ...

John Jung's insight:

Through a combination of history, poetry and raw emotion, this outstanding 2004 documentary by Karen Cho sheds light on an era that shaped the identity of generations of Chinese Canadians. Interviews in Toishan-wa with Head Tax Survivors as old as in their 90s, and family members, (with English subtitles) tell the history of their immigration experiences.

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Historian Recounts Role of Chinese Americans Who Fought in US Civil War

Historian Recounts Role of Chinese Americans Who Fought in US Civil War | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
Many people would be surprised to know that there were some Asian faces in the crowds of white and black soldiers serving in the American Civil War.
The participation of Asians, and in particula...
John Jung's insight:

Historian Ruthanne Lum McCunn speaks about the contributions of Chinese American soldiers in the American Civil War.  The site includes a link to an audio presentation of McCunn's commentary.

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Men Without a Country - Chinese in the American Civil War

This is the official trailer of the long awaited documentary film Men Without a Country - Chinese in the American Civil War.
John Jung's insight:

Trailer for 2011documentary by Montgomery Hom about Chinese who fought in the American Civil War.

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Immigration in Perspective: The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 | US History Scene

Immigration in Perspective: The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 | US History Scene | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 provides a unique perspective on one of the nation’s most central questions: who is an American, and who can become one?
John Jung's insight:

 A clearer understanding of the current immigration debate requires a thorough examination of past policies. Perhaps the most extreme policy was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. A thorough study of the reasons leading to this policy and the injustices associated with it may help the formulation of better policies.

 

"It is the only way that Americans can work to actualize the principles of freedom and equality that they hold dear."

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Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants

Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
odds and ends related to Chinese restaurants
John Jung's insight:

A potpourri of historical topics related to the origins and growth of Chinese family-run restaurants across North America is on the blog portion of this website, 'Chop Blog-uey." Other menus on the site present photographs of old chop suey joints and restaurant signs, artist renderings of restaurants, reflections of experiences working in restaurants as children, and excerpts and publicity about social history of Chinese restaurants in my book, "Sweet and Sour."

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The Forgotten Story of the “First Chinese American” || Bucknell Magazine Spring 2013 || Bucknell University

The Forgotten Story of the “First Chinese American” || Bucknell Magazine Spring 2013 || Bucknell University | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
Wong Chin Foo campaigned tirelessly for Chinese-American rights in the 19th century. But few know his name today. Even fewer know he attended Bucknell.
John Jung's insight:

 Wong Chin Foo (1847–98), educated in America was an articulate and controversial Chinese pioneer in the history of the struggle for equal rights. He coined the term, Chinese American, published the first Chinese language newspaper in America, lectured around the country, and founded the Chinese Equal Rights League to address political issues.

 

The First Chinese American: The Remarkable Life of Wong Chin Foo, a new book by Scott Seligman chronicles the saga of this fearless advocate for civil rights of Chinese against exclusion and discrimination, speaking to Congress, debating anti-Chinese demagogue Kearney, and publishing his views in leading publications like Atlantic Monthly and Harper's magazine.

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HowStuffWorks "Did the Chinese beat Columbus to America?"

HowStuffWorks "Did the Chinese beat Columbus to America?" | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
Did the Chinese discover America years before Christopher Columbus? Read the evidence that supports the 1421 theory that the Chinese beat Columbus.
John Jung's insight:

History or pseudo-history?


In his bestselling book, "1421: The Year China Discovered America," amateur historian Gavin Menzies turns the story of the Europeans' discovery of America on its ear with a startling idea: Chinese sailors beat Columbus to the Americas by more than 70 years.

 

Anthropologists, archaeologists, historians and linguists alike have debunked much of the evidence that Menzies used to support his notion, which has come to be called the 1421 theory

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The Rock Springs, Wyoming 1885 Massacre

Website for Tom Rea, Wyoming writer, poet, journalist and non-fiction author.
John Jung's insight:

On September 2, 1885, Chinese and white coal miners in Rock Springs, Wyoming, had a dispute over who had the right to work in a particularly desirable area of the mine. White miners beat two Chinese miners and walked off their jobs. That evening the white miners, armed with rifles, rioted and burned down the Chinese quarter.President Cleveland sent federal troops to protect the Chinese workers.  No whites were prosecuted for the murder of twenty-eight Chinese and $150,000 in property damage.

 

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HISTORY of Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of Augusta, GA.

John Jung's insight:

The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) of Augusta , Georgia (chartered in 1927), is one of the southeast’s oldest Asian organizations.   A non-profit, non-political organization, its mission is to provide fellowship for our members and to promote public awareness of our Chinese culture and heritage.


http://www.ccbaaugusta.com/history.htm

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New York Tong Wars - The Murders of Chinese Comedian Ah Hoon and Bow Kum

New York Tong Wars - The Murders of Chinese Comedian Ah Hoon and Bow Kum | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
http://www.amazon.com/Mobsters-Gangs-Crooks-Creeps-ebook/dp/B0058J44QO/ref=zg_bs_11010_1 Sometimes a comedian can be dead funny, but after one of his on-stage performances, Chinese comedian Ah Hoon...
John Jung's insight:

Tong wars terrorized America's Chinatowns in the late 1890s and periodically until the late 1920s.  Two major tongs, On Leong and Hip Sing, wreaked havoc with their hatchet man killings of targets, and some bystanders, so Chinatowns were dangerous places for Chinese and tourists as well.  Two of the most notorious battles between them in NYC were the killing of comedian Ah Hoon and a young Chinese woman, Bow Kum (THe Little Flower)

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Chinese American Women: Afong Moy (1834)

Chinese American Women:  Afong Moy (1834) | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
John Jung's insight:

The Carne Brothers were traders who promoted a traveling exhibition (freak show) in the 1830s that gave Americans in the east a rare opportunity for the admission price of fifty cents to see a Chinese lady, who they gave the name, Afong Moy.

 

The ads offered this description: “she was nineteen years of age, four feet ten inches in height, dressed in her national costume, and her feet were but four inches in length, as a result of her having worn iron shoes throughout her childhood”.

 

"Viewers saw Afong Moy use chopsticks and speak in Chinese. In addition, an interpreter, a man named Atung, was in the room to help viewers communicate with Afong Moy. She remained seated throughout, save every few minutes when she was instructed by Atung to walk around the room to display her bound feet."

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Chinese Laundries: A Social History

         The Chinese immigrants that came to North America in search of Gold Mountain from about 1850-1950 originated from impoverished villages of Guangdong province in southeastern China. However...
John Jung's insight:

This site examines how the laundry became the meal ticket for Chinese and their descendants to overcame the obstacles placed before them across the United States and Canada.  

 

What did running a laundry involve? How might this life have affected the direction that their children followed as they grew up?  What lessons did their children learn that helped them rise from such inauspicious beginnings to pursue and succeed in many prestigious professional careers? 

 

Today, even though the Chinese laundry has virtually vanished into history, we must recognize that it was one of the most important economic engines for the early Chinese as it allowed them and their children to succeed in America despite the racist animosity and hostility they faced throughout North America. 

 

Go under HOME for a blog with posts about various aspects and incidents related to Chinese Laundry history.  Also see Archives for older posts.

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The Rock Springs Massacre | WyoHistory.org

The Rock Springs Massacre | WyoHistory.org | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
On September 2, 1885, long-simmering tensions between white and Chinese coal miners in Rock Springs, Wyo.
John Jung's insight:

The Rock Springs, Wyoming 1885 massacre was the worst of many instances of anti-Chinese violence in the 19th century western United States. Whites viciously attacked and killed many of the 600 Chinese miners and destroyed their living quarters.  

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Chinatowns across Australia - australia.gov.au

Chinatowns across Australia - australia.gov.au | Chinese American history | Scoop.it

Via Catherine Smyth, Bin Xue
John Jung's insight:

There are many parallels in the origins of Chinatowns across Australia and in North America.  This site describes the Chinese diaspora , Australian style, and shows the similarities in how Chinese immigrants in both parts of the world lived and worked in anti-Chinese societies of the late 19th and much of the 20th century.

 

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Catherine Smyth's curator insight, May 24, 2013 12:32 AM

The gold rushes of the 1850s saw an influx of Chinese migrants to Australian colonies.

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Reflections on the Civil War and Joseph Pierce

Reflections on the Civil War and Joseph Pierce | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
John Jung's insight:

Irving Moy, author of "An American Journey- My Father, Lincoln, Joseph Pierce and Me," the story of Joseph Pierce, a Chinese American who fought in the American Civil War, reflects on the significance of his involvement in the war. (Moy also participates in the role of Joseph Pierce in civil war battle re-enactments)

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Chinese soldiers in the American Civil War

Chinese soldiers in the American Civil War | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
Researchers claim that as many as 50 Chinese fought as soldiers during the American Civil War.
John Jung's insight:

A little known fact is that Chinese in America fought in the Civil War. That was before Chinese help complete the building of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 or were excluded from entry in 1882.

 

"Historians say there may be more Chinese soldiers. It is tough to pick them out because they often took American names"

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Who was Wong Kim Ark? How a son of immigrants helped define who is a U.S. citizen

Wong is relatively little known to history. But his case, decided in 1898, affirmed the right to citizenship for the children of Chinese immigrants, at time barred from naturalizing - and set a precedent for all children of immigrants, regardless of their parents' status.

John Jung's insight:

 The 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868, assures everyone born in this country to  a constitutional right to U.S. citizenship. Central to that  interpretation is a 112-year-old Supreme Court decision, based on a lawsuit filed by  Wong Kim Ark.

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Artifacts exhibited from a long-buried Market Street Chinatown in San Jose

Artifacts exhibited from a long-buried Market Street Chinatown in San Jose | Chinese American history | Scoop.it
An arson fire in May 1887 destroyed the San Jose’s first Chinatown. Officials scraped away the ruins and buried most evidence of the community for nearly 100 years.
John Jung's insight:

Digging up the past, literally, can offer evidence about the distant past where no interviews, diaries, journals, etc. exist.

 

The destruction of San Jose's Chinatown in 1887 left buried artifacts that are only being studied more than a century later.   


For information about the archaeological project cataloging the Market Street Chinatown artifacts, go to http://marketstreet.stanford.edu

 

 

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