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|Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:56 am Post subject: Wanton killings & murders of Chinese by Whitemen worldwi
|Readers if you have other knowledge of white people's atrocities and killings against Chinese people in other parts of the world please add in to this blog.
August 13, 2012, 5:00 am12 Comments
Picturing the Remnants of Anti-Chinese Violence
By DAVID W. CHEN
Many people try to pay homage to historic sites by preserving or taking stock of whatever remains. Tim Greyhavens, a photojournalist from Seattle, wants to highlight a slice of history by challenging his audience to fill in the blanks.
For a new online project, Mr. Greyhavens pinpointed, based on records and interviews, the locations of dozens of anti-Chinese incidents in the American West that occurred more than 100 years ago. After traveling to those locations, he then photographed whatever exists there now.
The exhibit offers an entry point into a little-known and ignominious chapter of ethnic cleansing in American history that, viewed more than a century later, seems stunning for the sheer breadth and brazenness of racially motivated violence.
From the mid-1800s until the early part of the 20th century, towns up and down the Western Seaboard, stretching into Wyoming and Colorado, lashed out against Chinese immigrants by rounding them up, often at gunpoint, and kicking them out. Dozens were killed and injured, and houses were set on fire.
Sometimes, the aggressors — who included mayors, judges and businessmen — acted out of economic fears. Sometimes, they acted out of cultural fears. But the Chinese also fought back, filing lawsuits and organizing boycotts, among other means. Yet much of that history is now largely unknown, even in the places where the violence transpired.
But instead of depicting that violence, Mr. Greyhavens opts for a minimalist approach. There are no people in his photos. No historical markers noting that thousands of Chinese immigrants were expelled or killed. Just frame after frame of seemingly mundane rail yards, downtown intersections, industrial zones and more, in the hauntingly titled exhibit, “No Place for Your Kind.”
“I wanted these photos to represent that all these people had been removed,” Mr. Greyhavens said in an interview. “Here’s something where time has passed, and what was there before was just gone. How do you represent something that’s not there? And what is there that can possibly be visually interesting, especially in these dull urban landscapes?”
Mr. Greyhavens began his project in 2008, when he stumbled upon a reference to a place called “Chinese Massacre Cove” in Hells Canyon along the Oregon-Idaho border. After reading up on the events, he began to “notice parallels between what happened then. and what is taking place in our country right now,” he explains in the exhibit. “Both periods are marked by a widespread lack of understanding of other cultures.”
The project’s name comes from a newspaper article from the time, describing one of the incidents. A map of the Western United States serves as an index, allowing viewers to click specific locations and read short historical summaries.
The clearest juxtaposition between past and present is his entry for Eureka, Calif., which offers images from 2011 and 1885 of Eureka’s former Chinatown. Mr. Greyhavens’s favorite photo, perhaps, depicts the only surviving home from a former Chinatown in Rock Springs, Wyo. Tensions between white and Chinese mine workers at the Union Pacific coal mine led to the destruction of 79 homes owned or occupied by Chinese.
“There is nothing about that picture that says, ‘Oh, I want to live there, even now,’ ” said Bob Nelson, museum coordinator of the Rock Springs Historical Museum, who assisted Mr. Greyhavens. “It just needs to be recognized, so it never happens again. People knew about it here, and they’re embarrassed, and I think they’re trying to atone.”
Mr. Greyhavens based much of his research on “Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans,” a 2007 book by Jean Pfaelzer, a professor of English, women’s studies and East Asian studies at the University of Delaware. And when asked to review Mr. Greyhavens’s exhibit, Ms. Pfaelzer applauded his efforts as earnest and dogged. But she noted that Mr. Greyhavens largely neglected what she felt was a crucial part of the Chinese-American experience at that time: their resistance to, and in some cases, striking legal victories as a result of, the violence.
“On the one hand, it is very powerful to bring place from the past into the present,” she said. “But the present can only hold history if it is somehow revealed. That, to me, remains his challenge.”
John Kuo Wei Tchen, an historian at New York University who is a founder of the Museum of Chinese in America, said that Mr. Greyhavens’s endeavor represents the latest effort in recent years to capture a slice of history that has largely been erased, or forgotten. Indeed, he is now the chief historian for an exhibit on the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 that is scheduled to open at the New-York Historical Society in April 2014.
“I think it’s really terrific that this guy did this, and that he is mapping all these spaces that seem totally mundane,” he said. “The tricky part is that most people don’t know about the violence, and they don’t know the actual stories.”
Mr. Greyhavens is amenable to updating the project, based on additional research and suggestions. “It’s something that can definitely be never-ending,” he said.
But he is already thinking about what’s next: looking at the social and economic effects of the Grand Coulee Dam on local American Indian tribes, with a focus on the inundation of burial sites and ancestral fishing grounds.
Note: The following texts were written by Tim Greyhavens and accompany some of the photographs of his project, “No Place for Your Kind.” They have been edited.
Hells Canyon, Ore.
Chinese Massacre Cove
One of the worst crimes in Oregon history took place here in May 1887. There are conflicting accounts of exactly what happened, but the following is known to be true: a group of at least 31 Chinese miners were camped on the river when a small group of white men surrounded them and opened fire. All of the miners were killed.
The site of the massacre is isolated, and the killers might have gotten away had they not thrown the bodies of the Chinese into the river. About two weeks later, several of the bodies washed up on the shores near Lewiston, Idaho, 65 miles downstream.
An investigation by the Chinese Consulate determined that the killers were a band of local horse thieves. Three of the killers left the area before they could be arrested, but another three stood trial several months later. All three men were acquitted.
The Corner of 19th and Arapahoe Streets
On Oct. 23, 1880, the Rocky Mountain News noted that “the pest of the Pacific Coast … is invading the state, forcing men into starvation and women into prostitution.” It went on: “California is already in ruin through Chinese labor … and now Colorado is threatened with the same disaster.”
These diatribes set the background for violence, and a week later, on Halloween, a major riot erupted. There are several accounts of how it started, but most historians agree that it began when a group of three or four drunken white men attacked two Chinese who were playing pool at a saloon on Wazee Street. One Chinese man was hit with a board, but apparently, both men were able to escape.
Soon, an estimated crowd of two or three thousand began throwing bricks and breaking into Chinese stores and homes. The police were vastly outnumbered and were unable to stop the growing violence.
By late afternoon, the Chinese businesses and homes in the area had been gutted.
Rioters broke into a laundry and put ropes around the necks of the owner, Ah Sing, and his worker, Sing Lee. They dragged the men into the streets, where Ah Sing escaped after one or more white citizens persuaded the crowd to stop momentarily.
After Ah Sing got away, the mob, enraged, attacked Sing Lee. He was beaten and kicked, then dragged down the street to the corner of 19th and Arapahoe Streets where a rope was thrown over a lamppost. Sing Lee was hung by his neck, but the rope either broke or came untied. He died about two hours later.
After the violence ended, more than a dozen rioters were arrested, but almost all were dismissed on the grounds of insufficient evidence. The following year, several men were tried for the murder of Sing Lee, but a jury found none of them guilty.
Site of the Former Chinese Community
On the evening of Sept. 15, 1903, a group of at least 30 men from the Tonopah Labor Union, a chapter of the American Labor Union, marched into Tonopah’s Chinese community and ordered the residents to leave. A few hours later, a smaller group began breaking into every Chinese-occupied house. They pistol-whipped anyone who resisted and ransacked the homes, searching for money and valuables. Many Chinese reported losses of cash, gold and other prized possessions.
Some of the more prominent Chinese merchants were marched out of town and beaten, then left to find their way back. In the morning, it was discovered that one of the merchants did not return. His corpse was found the next day with a deep hatchet wound in his forehead and other wounds on his body. The man, Zhang Bingliang, had lived in the United States for more than 30 years.
Many of the Chinese and several white residents of the town came forth to identify those who took part in the riot, and 17 men were initially arrested. After a preliminary hearing, only six men were charged with assault and murder. They were tried, yet the eyewitness accounts of several Chinese and white men did not convince the jury of guilt.
Rock Springs, Wyo.
The Only Surviving Chinese Home
In the summer of 1885, tensions between the white and Chinese workers at the Union Pacific coal mine in Rock Springs began to escalate. Over the previous five years, at least 300 Chinese had moved into the town, and their presence was resented.
When the white workers went on strike for better wages and working conditions, the Chinese refused to join them. Things worsened when mine owners hired about 150 Chinese workers to replace the striking white miners. The already-simmering racism in the town soon erupted into one of the worst massacres in American history.
On Sept. 2, a fight broke out at a mine, and two Chinese workers were beaten. The mine foreman shut down work, and the white miners went to nearby saloons. By 3 p.m., the owners closed the saloons as well, in an attempt to quell the angry workers — so the drunken crowd spilled into the streets. A mob mentality soon took over.
Since the mines were closed and most of the Chinese miners had gone to their homes. Groups of white men quickly formed and headed to that area. One group of men blocked a plank bridge across Bitter Creek, the quickest means of escape from the rioters. Other groups then moved in from both the east and the west, effectively trapping many Chinese in their homes.
More than two dozen Chinese miners were known to have been murdered, and many were branded, mutilated, dismembered or decapitated. The number of actual dead is thought to be much higher.
The dead bodies of some were carried to the burning buildings and thrown into the flames. Some of the Chinese who had hid themselves in the houses were killed and their bodies burned; some, too sick or lame to run, were burned alive in their houses.
In all, 79 Chinese-owned or occupied homes, valued for official purposes at $147,000, were destroyed.
Probable Site of the Chinese Camp
In September 1885, a group of 37 Chinese workers were hired to pick hops on a farm about 15 miles east of Seattle. As soon as they arrived, a group of white and Native American hop-pickers threatened them and ordered them to leave the area. The Chinese refused, and they camped on a small peninsula along what is now Issaquah Creek.
On Sept. 7, at least five white men and two Native American men climbed the fence around the farm and sneaked into Chinese camp. The group fired their guns into the tents of the sleeping Chinese laborers. Three men were killed, and three others were seriously wounded. The shooters escaped, and the remaining Chinese tended their wounded and left the farm the next day.
Several weeks later, three men were arrested for the murders. One confessed and testified at trial against his co-conspirators. Nevertheless, the jury took less than 30 minutes to return a not-guilty verdict for all of the defendants.
Site of Lynchings, 1871
On Oct. 24, 1871, a mob went rampaging in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. The incident began when a policeman tried to stop a gunfight between two groups of Chinese men. When the policeman was wounded, a businessman named Robert Thompson came to his aid. Thompson fired back at the Chinese, and in the ensuing gun battle, he was mortally wounded.
When Thompson died, a crowd attacked Chinese people regardless of their involvement in the earlier gunfight.
Several Chinese barricaded themselves in a building, and some of the attackers climbed onto its roof. They chopped holes in it with pickaxes and fired shots into the building. The Chinese inside tried to escape, but they were captured by the waiting crowd, which now numbered in the hundreds.
At least a half-dozen Chinese were taken to a horse-drawn wagon shop known as Tomlinson’s Corral, at the intersection of Temple and New High Streets. The beams of the shop served as a makeshift gallows, and all of the Chinese in the hands of the mob were hanged, some after they were tortured.
When the beams at Tomlinson’s Corral could not hold any more ropes, the crowd moved to the intersection of Los Angeles and Commercial Streets. At least another dozen Chinese were hanged or murdered there.
The coroner’s report officially listed 19 dead. The next day, the Los Angeles Star newspaper described the Chinese victims as “uncivilized barbarians” who “valued life so lightly.” The massacre was described as a “glorious victory for the virtuous people of Los Angeles.”
Site of the Calle de Los Negroes
Months after the event, a grand jury indicted just nine men, all for the murder of a single man, a Dr. Tong. No other charges were brought forth.
After a short trial, two men were acquitted, and seven others were convicted on reduced charges of manslaughter. One year later, the California Supreme Court reversed the verdicts for all of the men. The court ruled that in some of the cases, a Chinese man was allowed to testify in court, which violated an 1863 state law that said no Chinese person could testify against a white man. In the other cases, the court said the indictments failed to explicitly state that the victims had been murdered as required by law, saying that terms such as “shot” and “hanged” were not specific enough.
Unlike incidents in other cities, the massacre and its aftereffects failed to force the Chinese to leave. The investigation and indictments, as weak as they were, had a dampening effect on the racism in the town, and before long, many Chinese businesses and homes in the Calle de Los Negroes were re-established.
Oro Grande, Idaho.
On Feb. 12, 1879, five Chinese miners were murdered at the Oro Grande mining camp in central Idaho. Local officials claimed that Native Americans, members of the Western Shoshone tribe — known as the Sheepeaters, who had lived in the region for many years — were to blame.
The Sheepeaters denied responsibility for the killings, and no evidence ever connected them to the deaths. Years later, some white miners claimed that other whites had killed the Chinese for the small amount of gold they had in their camp.
Still, at the time, the military took advantage of accusations and initiated what became known as the Sheepeater Indian War. The army pursued the Sheepeater people through central Idaho for many months, and in October 1879, the remaining members of the tribe surrendered. They spent the rest of their lives on the Fort Hall Reservation in southeast Idaho.
No one was ever charged with the murders of the Chinese miners.
Buildings From the Original Chinatown
In the 1880s, Butte had a large and active Chinatown. During the nationwide economic downturn of 1884, labor unions in Butte ordered all Chinese residents to leave town — blaming the Chinese for the unemployment problems. Though the Chinese community chose to resist the order, no harm came to them. During subsequent economic downturns, in 1891-92 and again in 1896, the unions promoted a boycott of all Chinese-owned and operated businesses. The latter boycott became increasingly vitriolic.
Fearing for their lives, some in the Chinese community left Butte in 1896-97. However, a significant number of Chinese merchants retaliated, seeking in federal court an injunction to stop the boycott. The case, known as Hum Lay, et. al. v. Baldwin, was heard in the Ninth Circuit Court in Montana in 1898.
Unlike most court cases brought by Chinese immigrants during this time, this court ruled in favor of the Chinese plaintiffs. The unions were ordered to stop the boycott, and the Chinese were awarded $1,750 from the defendants for fees and expenses. Business returned to usual in Chinatown, and there were no further organized actions against Chinese immigrants.
This was a significant legal victory for Chinese immigrants in the United States during the 19th century. It went counter to the prevailing prejudice and bigotry of the times, which in many other cities in the West resulted in violence against local Chinese. After winning their case, the Chinese community in Butte remained an integral force in the town for many years.
Site of the Albina Chinese Community
On March 1, 1886, a group of 30 or more white men entered a camp of Chinese woodcutters just north of the town of Albina, now part of Portland. The white men, who were armed, ordered the Chinese to leave the area immediately.
After escorting the Chinese to the ferry on the Willamette River, the mob went back to Albina and made the same demand the Chinese residents of the town. About 180 men and women were removed from the Albina and East Portland areas and forced to move into the city of Portland, on the west side of the river.
The Portland Oregonian reported at the time that police had questioned the white men involved, who said they “had a hell of a fine time.” No arrests were made.
General Area of the Chinese Quarters
On Sept. 11, 1885, at least 15 white miners at the Coal Creek Mine near Newcastle, Wash., attacked a group of about 50 Chinese miners. They fired guns into the air and forced their way into the company building where the Chinese lived. They ordered the Chinese outside at gunpoint, then set fire to the building. It was completely destroyed.
The miners lost all of their clothing and personal belongings, but no one was known to be seriously injured. Most of the Chinese miners fled into the woods nearby and did not return. Prior to this, almost all of them had worked at the mine without incident for three years.
Site of the Anti-Chinese Riot
In February 1886, an armed mob rounded up most of Seattle’s Chinese residents and attempted to force them onto the docked steamer, Queen of the Pacific. The captain of the Queen refused to let anyone on board without a proper fare, so the mob began collecting money.
Meanwhile, Washington’s Gov. Watson Squire ordered the ship to stay at the dock while he looked for some resolution. He failed to act, however, and the Chinese were held in a dock warehouse overnight.
By the next morning, the mob’s leaders had collected enough money to pay the fares for nearly 200 of the Chinese captives. Having heard abut the recent massacre in Rock Springs, they reluctantly boarded the ship to leave Seattle.
Guarded by the militia, the others walked toward their homes in what is now the Pioneer Square area. The procession was immediately threatened by a large mob, and when deputies tried to arrest the most violent of the agitators, fighting broke out.
During the melee, several shots were fired, and five men from the mob fell to the ground. Upon hearing the gunshots, reinforcements appeared and strengthened the militia’s numbers. The casualties were taken to a hospital, where one of them died. Order was eventually restored, and the Chinese were allowed to return to their homes. The governor declared martial law throughout the city.
On Feb. 14, another 110 Chinese left the city on the next steamer. It was understood that if they did not leave, their lives would be in danger.
Six men were later indicted on charges of unlawful conspiracy for their roles in the forced exclusion of the Chinese. After a four-week trial, the jury returned not guilty verdicts for all six men.
General Area of the Lemm Ranch Chinese Cabin
On March 14, 1877, a group of white men shot six Chinese men at point-blank range in a cabin at Lemm Ranch, just outside of Chico. Three died immediately.
Although wounded, a man named Wo Ah Lin feigned death and survived. After the white men left, he tended to the two other wounded survivors and made his way into town for help.
One of the survivors died the next morning, but Wo Ah Lin and another — Ah Shung — eventually recovered. After the murders, several fires were set in Chico’s Chinatown, but the residents extinguished those fires.
Weeks later, 29 men were arrested for the murders and the arson. A grand jury dismissed the charges against eight of the men, but four pleaded guilty. A determined prosecutor managed to make arson charges hold against six more, and they were found guilty. This was a rare instance of conviction in a crime against Chinese immigrants.
In 1881, locals demanded pardons for all of the convicted men. California Gov. George Perkins, who previously had declared a legal holiday for the purposes of attending anti-Chinese demonstrations, shortened the sentences of all of the men to the time they had served and they were released.
In 1886, multiple fires broke out simultaneously in Chinatown, and the entire area burned to the ground.
General Area of the First Chinatown
When the Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869, about 1,400 now out-of-work Chinese laborers traveled to Truckee, seeking new jobs building railroads through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Within a few months, one-third of Truckee’s population was Chinese. The Chinatown there was second in size only to San Francisco.
Within a short time, anti-Chinese resentment swelled in the ranks of the white workers of Truckee. For years, there were sporadic incidents of whites beating and stealing from Chinese merchants, but on May 29, 1875, a fire of unknown origin broke out in Chinatown. Soon, the entire area was in flames, and spread to several white-owned businesses, though a volunteer fire brigade prevented it from spreading further.
No effort was made to save the Chinese buildings, which were completely destroyed.
Soon after the fire, a group of white men started a vigilante committee called the Caucasian League. They began to plan ways to rid the town of its Chinese residents. Some League members wanted swifter action than others, and in June, a few attacked several Chinese woodcutters outside of town. They set fire to their cabins, and when the Chinese ran out, the attackers shot and wounded several of them. One of the Chinese men died the next day.
Seven men were arrested and stood trial, but in spite of direct testimony by two of the defendants against the other five, all were acquitted after the jury’s nine-minute deliberation.
Not long after moving across the river, fire once again raged through Chinatown, destroying half of the newly built homes and stores.
Frustrated by the resilience and perseverance of the Chinese, the white leaders of Truckee began planning new ways to rid their town of Chinese. In 1885, Charles McGlashan formed the Truckee Anti-Chinese Boycotting Committee, launching a boycott by merchants of any Chinese who comes to them either for employment or for goods, hoping to starve the Chinese out of Truckee. McGlashan’s newspaper proclaimed, “Peacefully, orderly, lawfully, let us disperse with every collie slave in the Truckee basin.”
As food and other supplies dwindled in their community, many Chinese left town. Records indicate that though the boycott leaders claimed to have rid the town of Chinese, a few remained. In 1886, four months after the boycott was declared a success, another fire burned most of the buildings in Chinatown. Three people were killed.
The Site of the Chinese Hanging Tree
On Sept. 10, 1885, residents of Pierce, Idaho, were shocked to find storekeeper D.M. Fraser murdered. They immediately suspected Lee Kee Nam, a Chinese merchant who had opened up a store in competition with Fraser. Vigilantes arrested five Chinese men, including Kee Nam and his business partner, and forced the two to incriminate each other.
A week later, the sheriff and a small posse rode out of town with the five Chinese prisoners, intending them to a courthouse 18 miles away. A little outside of Pierce, they were stopped by a band of armed, masked men, who ordered the posse to leave the prisoners and return to town.
A makeshift gallows was created by lashing a pole between two trees, and they hanged all five of the Chinese men on the spot. The newspaper reported that when the sheriff’s posses returned to the site, they found that the pole between the trees had broken but had been lashed to a center post, suggesting to them that the Chinese must have been hanged twice before they finally died.
A perfunctory investigation of the original murder took place the following year at the request of the governor, and it concluded that the Chinese were the guilty parties. No one was ever charged with their murders.
Site of the Sandlot
In 1877, an estimated crowd of 5,000 gathered near City Hall to hear speakers campaign for an eight-hour work day and for the nationalization of the railroads. Soon, however, labor organizer Denis Kearney and others began to lash out against the Chinese in the city, blaming them for a lack of jobs and difficult economic times.
As the speeches became more charged with racist language, tempers flared and shots rang out, and there was a riot.
A mob from the sandlot marched toward Chinatown, but the police successfully halted the attack, and within an hour, the marchers began to disperse.
The next day, police battled with a mob trying to block the docking of a steamer carrying more Chinese to the city. Someone started a fire, and when a rioter rushed in to try to cut a fire hose, he was shot dead by the police.
The police then charged the mob of about 1,500 people. When shots were fired at the officers in the lead, the officers returned the fire, killing 4 and wounding 18. The crowd dispersed.
Another mob took battering rams and broke into Chinese businesses in the area south of Market Street. They ransacked the interiors, stole valuables and destroyed everything else. The few rioters who were caught from this mob ranged from 12 to 16 years old.
San Jose, Calif.
Site of the First Chinatown
After the rapid growth of the early 1880s, San Jose made plans to modernize its downtown area. At that time, the Chinese community, which was once on the city’s edge, had become surrounded by white-owned businesses. Civic leaders called for the removal of Chinatown and demanded that local businesses only hire white labor or face a boycott.
After the Chinese made it clear that they did not want to move, local anti-Chinese forces reacted. On May 4, 1887, a fast-moving fire destroyed most of San Jose’s Chinatown, which, like many urban areas of that time, was built almost entirely out of wood.
There are no reports of deaths or serious injuries from the fire. But arson was widely suspected as the cause, since multiple blazes broke out in a short while.
The San Jose Daily Herald newspaper announced the next day that “Chinatown is dead. It is dead forever.” Soon, however, local Chinese merchants started working with white businessman John Heinlen, and together, they made plans to construct a new Chinatown nearby. That area thrived until the 1920s, when the long-term effects of the Chinese Exclusion Act reduced the numbers of residents to a few dozen.
General Area Where the Expulsion Was Stopped
On Feb. 9, 1886, one day after an anti-Chinese protester in Seattle was killed by militia who were protecting Chinese citizens, agitators in Olympia tried to force the Chinese out of their city. Newspapers reported that a crowd of 20 had entered the Chinese homes and businesses and were notifying the residents that they must leave. When Olympia Sheriff William Billings realized what was happening, he challenged the organizers of the expulsion attempt at the corner of Fourth and Main Streets. When the crowd continued on its business, the sheriff deputized several citizens of the town, and together, they succeeded in stopping the crowd from removing any of the Chinese.
After the sheriff’s intervention, the crowd backed down and dispersed. Later, the riot’s leaders were arrested, tried and convicted of conspiracy. Though shaken by this event, the Chinese in Olympia kept their homes and businesses, and for many years, a small Chinatown flourished in their city.
In 1997, Washington Gov. Gary Locke, the first Chinese-American governor in the United States, referred to this incident in his inaugural address, recalling that his grandfather lived in Olympia at the time of the riot. He said that the fact that important citizens stood up for the Chinese in Olympia helped his family establish a deep faith in American values.
Approximate Site of “Little Canton”
On Nov. 3, 1885, a mob forcibly rounded up most of Tacoma’s Chinese residents. Leading the mob were the mayor, the sheriff, a judge and other officials. The mob went to each home in what the white citizens called Little Canton.
When the rioters found someone in a house, they dragged them out. If they did not find someone, they ransacked the place.
The day after the Chinese were forced to leave the city, a fire started in the now-empty homes. All of the homes burned were destroyed.
“The houses were of no value,” reported the Tacoma Ledger newspaper, “except to the Chinese.”
At least 200 Chinese were forced from their homes at gunpoint. A few wagons were brought to carry any baggage the Chinese could bring with them and provided rides for elderly women and children. The men had to walk the eight miles outside of town to the Lakeview Railway Station.
There are no official records of deaths or serious injuries during the expulsion, though Chinese accounts say two people died from exposure while being held at the train station.
The mayor of Tacoma and other leaders of the expulsion were indicted for conspiring to deny the Chinese their civil rights, but the charges were dropped.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to Rock Springs, Wash. Rock Springs is in Wyoming.
Follow @davidwchen and @nytimesphoto on Twitter.
Showcase, Chinese Americans, David Chen, Jean Pfaelzer, Rock Springs Historical Museum, Tim Greyhavens
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Winston Smith 8495
This photo series of anti-Chinese violence was moving and powerful. So that this type of horrific violence never happens again more of us (especially politicians who gloss over our history) need to acknowledge our country's bloody, violent and tragic history.
Aug. 15, 2012 at 9:45 p.m.
For those interested in digging deeper into the historic roots of anti-Chinese sentiment in America, please take a look at Iris Chang's 2004 book entitled, The Chinese In America.
I find that much of this historic animosity persists in American society today. The rise of Communist China further complicates the Western view on China by adding a further layer of threat and insecurity. There are many subtle innuendos and undertones in Western media reporting that reinforce negative stereotypes and these are largely accepted without question.
I'd also like to thank Tim Greyhavens for his work and drawing attention to a long neglected area of American society.
Aug. 15, 2012 at 11:05 a.m.
It is a shame that US has never issued an official apology for these terrible crimes and verdicts to these Chinese people, even after so many years. Are you really civilized people as you always claim, Americans?
Aug. 15, 2012 at 3:23 a.m.
US people should always keep in mind what they have done to these foreigners, as we are also once foreigners.
Aug. 14, 2012 at 10:32 p.m.
Isnt the fact that these pictures look serene testament to the reality that the past violence against the Chinese has been whitewashed and ignored in the country? When will these harms be acknowledged and proper apologies made?
Aug. 14, 2012 at 10:30 p.m.
Thank you for making an effort to uncover a period of unforgotten history. The contrast between the peacefulness and the violence behind it is simply amazing.
The history will repeat itself if we don't learn from it. This Chinese experience applies to all minorities of a society. Just think Jews and Indians...Your work has value that transcends racial barriers. Well done! I hope a book is on the way.
Aug. 14, 2012 at 12:04 p.m.
Dolores Huerta pointed out a place in Stockton, CA where several Chinese were hung for some reason. Also, one of the more interesting murders of a Chinese occurred around Langtry, Texas, when the Southern Pacific Railroad was being built. A white man killed a Chinese railroad worker. The case was brought before the legendary Judge Roy Bean, who looked through his "law book" and proclaimed that "there ain't no law against killing a Chinaman." Many already believed that to be true.
The story is best told in "Asian Texans: Our Histories and Our Lives." That spot should be photographed and added to this project.
Aug. 14, 2012 at 12:03 p.m.
San Jose, CA
Very few people would have known about the dark chapters of the these seemingly beautiful and tranquil places if it were not for the dedication of the two of you.
Aug. 14, 2012 at 12:02 p.m.
So powerful to see the now-sterile office parks and concrete streets where such horrific acts took place. So much history still needs to be studied. Thanks for sharing this.
Aug. 14, 2012 at 6:43 a.m.
I don't understand the value, importance, or artistry of these photographs. If it weren't for the accompanying text that explains the significance of the incidents of violence and prejudice at each locale, they would be no more than a tourist's snapshots.
Aug. 14, 2012 at 6:43 a.m.
I think that's the idea. That such acts then can be now "commemorated" by such mundane pictures of such ordinary sites suggests things swept under the carpet of locked in the bottom of the cupboard. Imagine is Auschwitz was now a site of a carpark and an IKEA megastore.
Aug. 14, 2012 at 11:48 p.m.
Perhaps a way to appreciate "the value, importance, or artistry of these photographs" is to imagine what if Mr. Chen posts only the text, without any photographs at all.
Would the posted text be as provocative as the photographs plus the text?
Would it attract any reader at all?
The 'space' that is occupied by trees, buildings, rocks, and so forth, in the photograph, which is sensible, stimulates reason's intuition, which is the basis of understanding. Without the photos, the intuition may not be wakened up at all. Of course, a few moral philosophers would still be able to understand the evil in man when they read the text.
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