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Anti-Asian Violence. Asian Americans and the Law Dr. Steiner. Samuel Bowles, Our New West (1869).

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anti asian violence

Anti-Asian Violence

Asian Americans and the Law

Dr. Steiner

samuel bowles our new west 1869
Samuel Bowles, Our New West (1869)
  • [The Chinese], of course, have been the victims of much meanness and cruelty from individuals. To abuse and cheat a Chinaman; to rob him; to kick and cuff him; even to kill him, have been things not only done with impunity by mean and wicked men, but even with vain glory. Terrible are some of the cases of robbery and wanton maiming and murder reported from the mining districts.
samuel bowles our new west 18691
Samuel Bowles, Our New West (1869)
  • Had “John,” ...--a good claim, original or improved, he was ordered to “move on,”--it belonged to somebody else. Had he hoarded a pile, he was ordered to disgorge; and, if he resisted, he was killed. Worse crimes even are known against them; they have been wantonly assaulted and shot down or stabbed by bad men, as sportsmen would surprise and shoot their game in the woods. There was no risk in such barbarity; if “John” survived to tell the tale, the law would not hear him or believe him.
San Francisco, April 1, 1876H. H. Ellis, Chief of Police, City and County of San Francisco.

Sir: We wish to call your attention to the fact that at the present time frequent and unprovoked assaults are made upon our Chinese People while walking peacefully the streets of this city. The assaulting party is seldom arrested by your officers, but if a Chinaman resists the assault he is frequently arrested and punished by fine or by imprisonment.

Inflammatory and incendiary addresses against the Chinese, delivered in the public streets to the idle and irresponsible element of this great city, have already produced unprovoked and unpunished assaults on some of our people, and we fear that if such things are permitted to go on unchecked a bloody riot against the Chinese may be the result.

Letter from the Chinese Six Companies

huie kin reminiscences 1932
Huie Kin, Reminiscences (1932)
  • On San Francisco in the 1870s
    • The Chinese were in a pitiable condition in those days. We were simply terrified; we kept indoors after dark for fear of being shot in the back. Children spit upon us as we passed by and called us rats.
wunder anti chinese violence in the american west
Wunder, Anti-Chinese Violence in the American West
  • What is the geography of violence in the American West? Where did these episodes occur?
  • What state had the most “outbreaks”?
wunder anti chinese violence in the american west1
Wunder, Anti-Chinese Violence in the American West
  • Which state had the most deaths?
  • Did these outbreaks occur in urban or rural areas?
  • What type of violence was occurring in the western states?
wunder anti chinese violence in the american west2
Wunder, Anti-Chinese Violence in the American West
  • Wunder writes about a sixty-year period. When did the outbreaks of anti-Chinese violence occur?
  • Does Wunder agree or disagree with the notion that anti-Chinese violence was a temporary aberration occurring in 1885-1886?
  • Which state had what Wunder calls the longest embrace of anti-Chinese sentiment?
the chinese massacre los angeles 1871
“The Chinese Massacre”Los Angeles 1871
  • After white police officer shot in Chinatown, white mob gathers to take revenge
  • Mob loots Chinese homes and shoots or hangs two dozen Chinese
denver riot 1880
Denver Riot1880
  • Denver newspapers warned of Chinese “invasion”
  • Democratic Party sponsored anti-Chinese parade
  • Mob of 3000 gathered in Denver’s Chinatown and looted and burned homes and businesses
tacoma washington 1885
Tacoma, Washington 1885
  • Anti-Chinese mayor elected, who calls congress that demands ouster of Chinese
  • Committee of Fifteen selected, which selects November 1 deadline for Chinese expulsion
  • In November mobs begin forcible ejection of Chinese from homes and businesses
  • Committee of Fifteen subsequently acquitted of charges of civil rights violations
seattle 1886
Seattle 1886
  • After acquittal, Committee of Fifteen sets sights on Seattle
  • Four hundred Chinese are forced to leave
  • By March 1886, most of the Chinese in western Washington had been expelled
a chinese laundry at a bargain sale mrs h scovile seattle
A Chinese Laundry at a Bargain SaleMrs. H. Scovile (Seattle)
  • What I remember best about the early days in Seattle in the Chinese riots in 1886. My husband came home one Sunday morning and told me an officer from the Home Guards had come into the church and commanded all the men to report for duty at once. There were a number of Chinese in Seattle then, some running laundries, others having cigar stores, and so on. The people of the town had become incensed at the idea of Orientals being allowed to carry on business when Americans needed work.
a chinese laundry at a bargain sale mrs h scovile seattle1
A Chinese Laundry at a Bargain SaleMrs. H. Scovile (Seattle)
  • The Committee of Fifteen had told the Chinese that they must go, get out of town, by a certain date. A steamer from San Francisco would be in the harbor on that date, and they must go aboard. The Chinese began selling off their goods and equipment. My husband and I decided to buy a laundry. We knew nothing about the laundry business but we thought we could learn. We bought the laundry and all the equipment for almost nothing, and opened for business. We prospered, the business grew fast, and we never regretted buying a laundry at a bargain sale.
memorial of chinese laborers resident at rock springs 1885
Memorial of Chinese Laborers Resident at Rock Springs (1885)
  • What was going on in Rock Springs before the outbreak of violence?
  • Were whites and Chinese working together or was there occupational segregation?
  • Were the Chinese aware of white hostility before the violent outburst?
memorial of chinese laborers resident at rock springs 18851
Memorial of Chinese Laborers Resident at Rock Springs (1885)
  • According to the Memorial, what happened in Rock Springs in the first few days of September 1885?
  • What role did the federal government play after the Rock Springs massacre? What was the reaction of the mining company?
  • In the aftermath of the massacre, what did the Chinese laborers from Rock Springs want?
The Chinese Examining Commission at Rock Springs, 1885, Harper's Weekly. L to R, Lt. Groesbeck; Tsang Hoy, interpreter from Chinese Legation; Frederick A. Bee, lobbyist and lawyer for the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (the "Six Companies"), San Francisco; Huang Sih Chuen, Chinese Consul, New York; unidentified; Lt. Col. (Brevet Maj. Gen.) Alexander McDowell McCook, Commander Fort Leavenworth.
the 1903 anti chinese riot in tonopah nevada from a chinese perspective
The 1903 Anti-Chinese Riot in Tonopah, Nevada, from a Chinese Perspective
  • We had intended to accept the humiliating treatment and stopped pursuing the case, but the merchant leaders reproached us severely, saying “… People will regard you with contempt if you don’t do your utmost to fight back against these Westerner ruffians after you suffered this cruel treatment.”
  • With the help of our fellow countrymen, we hope to win the court case and execute the head ruffians to avenge the soul of the innocent dead and to comfort those of us who were brutally expelled.
south asian immigration
South Asian Immigration
  • Indians emigrated to British Columbia, Canada in the first decade of the 20th century at the rate of 2000 per year
  • White Canadians begin calls for exclusion based upon fear of economic competition and the inability of “Hindus” to assimilate
  • In 1909, Canadian government ends Indian immigration
south asian immigration1
South Asian Immigration
  • Indian immigration to United States begins roughly in 1898
  • From 1898 to 1903, number of immigrants averaged thirty per year
  • From 1904 to 1906, 250 per year average
  • In 1907, 1,072
  • In 1908, 1,710
  • In 1909, 377
  • In 1910, 1,782
  • In 1940, 2,405
    • Initially, Immigrants were working primarily as laborers in the lumber industry of Washington and California
indian immigrants angel island c 1910
Indian Immigrants, Angel Island, c. 1910.

Echoes of Freedom: South Asian Pioneers in California

pacific eastern rr construction c 1909
Pacific & Eastern RR construction, c. 1909.

Echoes of Freedom: South Asian Pioneers in California

puna singh chima harvesting celery yuba city ca c 1922
Puna Singh Chima harvesting celery, Yuba City, CA c. 1922

Echoes of Freedom: South Asian Pioneers in California

the hindoo question in california proceedings of the asiatic exclusion league 1908
“The Hindoo Question in California,” Proceedings of the Asiatic Exclusion League (1908)
  • From every part of the Coast, complaints are made of the undesirability of the Hindoos, their lack of cleanliness, disregard of sanitary laws, petty pilfering, especially of chickens, and insolence to women.
herman scheffauer the tide of turbans forum 1910
Herman Scheffauer, “The Tide of Turbans,” Forum (1910)
  • This time the chimera is not the saturnine, almond-eye mask, the shaven head, the snaky pig-tail of the multitudinous Chinese, nor the close-cropped bullet-heads of the suave and smiling Japanese, but a face of finer features, rising, turbaned out of the Pacific and bringing a new and anxious question.
the hindu the newest immigration problem survey 1910
“The Hindu, the Newest Immigration Problem,” Survey (1910)
  • The civic and social question concerns the ability of the nation to assimilate this class of Hindus and their probable effect on the communities where they settle. Their habits, their intense caste feeling, their lack of home life—no women being among them—and their effect upon standards of labor and wages, all combine to raise a serious question as to whether the doors should be kept open or closed against this strange, new stream.
san francisco call aug 13 1910
San Francisco Call (Aug. 13, 1910)

Echoes of Freedom: South Asian Pioneers in California

bellingham reveille sept 6 1907
Bellingham Reveille, Sept. 6, 1907
  • From every standpoint it is most undesirable that these Asians should be permitted to remain in the United States. They are repulsive in appearance and disgusting in manners. They are said to be without shame, and while no charges of immorality are brought against them, their actions and customs are so different from ours that there can never be tolerance of them. They contribute nothing to the growth and upbuilding of the city as a result of their labors. They work for small wages and do not put their money into circulation.
bellingham reveille sept 5 1907
Bellingham Reveille, Sept. 5, 1907
  • The Hindu is not a good citizen. It would require centuries to assimilate him, and this country need not take the trouble. Our racial burdens are already heavy enough to bear. . . . Our cloak of brotherly love is not large enough to include him as a member of the body politic.
filipino immigration 1910 1930
Filipino Immigration, 1910-1930
  • Mainland Population
    • 1910 405
    • 1920 5,603
    • 1930 45, 208
  • California Population
    • 1910 5
    • 1930 30,470
filipino immigration
Filipino Immigration
  • Between 1925 and 1929, 22,767 Filipinos and 1,356 Filipinas entered California
  • One-third of the males were between 16 and 21 years old and nearly half were between 22 and 29 years old
filipino immigrants and intermarriage
Filipino Immigrantsand Intermarriage
  • In late 1920s in California, among Filipinos there were nineteen men to every one woman.
  • In 1937, in Los Angeles, a survey of 95 families found both spouses were Filipinos in 29 households (30%)
january 1930
January 1930
  • Palm Beach taxi-dance hall opens near Watsonville, employing twelve white dancers
  • Judge Rohrback calls for ban on Filipino labor
  • California Senator Hiram Johnson introduces bill in Senate calling for Filipino exclusion
  • Representative Richard Welch from Watsonville introduces similar bill in House
  • Local Chamber of Commerce backs ban on Filipino labor because Filipinos represent a threat from a “moral and sanitary standpoint” and “menace to white labor”
judge d w rohrback watsonville evening pajaronian jan 10 1930
Judge D.W. RohrbackWatsonville Evening Pajaronian, Jan. 10, 1930
  • [I]f the present state of affairs continues ... there will be 40,000 half-breeds in the State of California before ten years have passed. ... We do not advocate violence but ... the United States should send those unwelcome inhabitants from our shores.... I hope that we overcome this menace to our general welfare.
judge d w rohrback
Judge D.W. Rohrback
  • Damn the Filipino! He won’t keep his place. The worst part of his being here is his mixing with young white girls from thirteen to seventeen. He gives them silk underwear and makes them pregnant and crowds whites out of jobs in the bargain.
judge d w rohrback watsonville evening pajaronian dec 5 1929
Judge D.W. RohrbackWatsonville Evening Pajaronian, Dec. 5, 1929
  • Filipinos were “little brown men about ten years removed from a bolo and breechcloth.” “Attired like ‘Solomon in all his glory,” Filipinos were “strutting like peacocks and endeavoring to attract the eyes of young American and Mexican girls.”
fears of miscegenation
Fears of Miscegenation
  • David Barrows, The Desirability of the Filipino, The Commonwealth (Nov. 5, 1929)
    • Their vices were almost entirely based upon sexual passion. . . . He usually frequents the poorer quarters of our towns and spends the residues of his savings in brothels and dance halls, which in spite of our laws exist to minister to his lower nature.
fears of miscegenation1
Fears of Miscegenation
  • Stockton California resident, 1930
    • The Japs and Chinese have never mixed with white women to any extent, not the extent that the Filipino does anyway.
  • Witness, House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, 1930
    • The Filipinos are … a social menace as they will not leave our white girls alone and frequently intermarry.
fears of miscegenation2
Fears of Miscegenation
  • “Mr. Moody,” Deputy labor commissioner, 1930
    • The love-making of the Filipino is primitive, even heathenish. . . more elaborate.
  • D. Crowell, business owner, 1930
    • The Filipinos are hot little rabbits, and many of these white women like them for that reason.
fears of miscegenation3
Fears of Miscegenation
  • San Francisco Municipal Court Judge Sylvain Lazurus, Time (April 13, 1936)
    • It is a dreadful thing when these Filipinos, scarcely more than savages, come to San Francisco, work for practically nothing, and obtain the society of these girls. . . . Some of these boys, with perfect candor, have told me bluntly and boastfully that they practice the art of love with more perfection than white boys, and occasionally one of the girls has supplied me with information to the same effect. In fact some of the disclosures in this regard are perfectly startling in nature.
california s anti miscegenation statute
California’s Anti-Miscegenation Statute
  • Groups such as the American Legion, the Native Sons and daughters of the American West, and the California State Federation of Labor called for a new miscegenation statute that would include Filipinos.
  • In 1933, California legislature amended the miscegenation statute to state that all marriages of Caucasians with “negroes, Mongolians, members of the Malay race, or mulattoes are illegal and void” and that no marriage license would be issued for a marriage of “a white person with a negro, Mulatto, Mongolian, or members of the Malay race.”
  • Both bills passed unanimously in the Senate and 66-1 and 63-0 in the Assembly.
federal legislation
Federal Legislation
  • 1934 Tydings-McDuffie Independence Act provided for annual quota of 50 Filipino immigrants
  • 1935 Repatriation Act provided free transportation for Filipinos to return to the Phillipines
juries and jury nullification
Juries and Jury Nullification
  • American courts have a long history of all-white juries acquitting white defendants charged with crimes against non-whites (when charges are brought at all)