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[TIMELINE] Wong Chin Foo - One of the Earliest Chinese American Activists

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  • madchinaman
    WONG CHIN FOO / ACTIVIST - NYC S 1ST CHINESE NEWSPAPER 1883 - Lecturer, activist, and journalist Wong Chin Foo begins a weekly bilingual newspaper, the Chinese
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 10, 2005
      WONG CHIN FOO / ACTIVIST - NYC'S 1ST CHINESE NEWSPAPER


      1883 - Lecturer, activist, 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. (http://www.tqnyc.org/NYC040546/timeline/TQ_timeline.htm)

      Wong Chin Foo, one of the first activists for Chinese citizenship
      and voting rights, these essays speak eloquently about the early
      struggles in the Americanization movement.

      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).

      OTHER NOTEWORTHY EVENTS

      1785 - The arrival of three Chinese seamen in Baltimore marks the
      first record of Chinese in United States

      1850 - In United States, statues prohibiting the testimony of
      Africans and Native Americans in cases involving European Americans
      are applied to Chinese.

      1850 - The first anti-Chinese riot occurs in Tuolumne County,
      California.

      1850s - First large influx of Chinese immigrants to the West Coast;
      they enter diverse occupations, from agriculture and mining to
      fishing and manufacturing.

      1852 - The mutiny of Chinese workers being shipped to San Francisco
      aboard the vessel Robert Browne draws attention to the "Coolie
      trade."

      1867 - Five thousand Chinese railroad workers go on strike for
      higher wages and shorter workday.

      1875 - Chinese farmer Ah Bing grows special cherry later known as
      the Bing Cherry.

      1878 - First Chinese grocery store, Wo Kee, opens on Mott Street,
      New York. U.S Supreme count denies Chinese the right to become
      American Citizens

      1885 - In a massacre in Rock Springs, Wyoming, twenty-eight Chinese
      are shot dead while Chinese homes and possessions are destroyed.

      1888 - The Scott Act prohibits the re-entry of 20,000 Chinese
      workers who temporarily left the United States for China

      1892 - The "Fond Yue-Ting v. United State," the Chinese community
      raises money to test the constitutionality of exclusionary
      legislation

      1898 - Wong Kim Ark v. Supreme Court decision states that a child of
      Chinese descent born in U.S is a citizen of the U.S

      1905 - Chinese in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and elsewhere stage a one-
      year boycott of U.S. goods to protest the treatment of Chinese in
      the Americas.

      Quinsong Zhang, "The Origins of the Chinese Americanization
      Movement: Wong Chin Foo and the Chinese Equal Rights League," in
      Claiming America: Constructing Chinese American Identities during
      the Exclusion Era, ed. K. Scott Wong and Sucheng Chan (Philadelphia:
      Temple University Press, 1998), 41-63.

      =


      http://66.102.7.104/search?
      q=cache:FdnUt3JCahAJ:www.pbs.org/becomingamerican/program2_transcript
      .pdf+%22Wong+Chin+Foo%22&hl=en


      [Words of] WONG CHIN FOO: 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.

      MOYERS: His name was Wong Chin Foo; he was a journalist, a showman,
      a provocateur. He wanted more than a new immigration law, more even
      than equal rights. For him it was also personal: he wanted respect.

      SHAWN WONG: He was the master of what we now know as the soundbite:
      Chinese don't eat rats. I will pay someone five hundred dollars if
      they can prove that Chinese eat rats.

      MOYERS: Where he came from, or why, is a mystery. But by 1880 he was
      lecturing any U.S. audience he could find. Confucius, he said, lived
      five hundred years before Jesus who was a Johnny-come-lately.
      Assimilation? You try it, he said. Anybody here want to become
      Chinese? He meant to shock - as when he gave his newspaper its name.

      L. LING-CHI WANG: He actually put, you know, the word Chinese
      American onto his newspaper, you know, like a banner and it's like
      claiming, you know, America for himself. And in the process, I
      think, claiming America for the rest of the Chinese American
      community.

      MOYERS: 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.

      SHAWN WONG: Wong Chin Foo put himself out there to be the target.
      And so he challenged Dennis Kearney to a duel, you know. Let's fight
      it out in the street. You and me. Mano a mano.

      MOYERS: Of course newspapers couldn't resist. "What weapons?"
      reporters wanted to know. "Kearney's choice," Wong shot back.

      [Words of] WONG CHIN FOO: I give him the choice of chopsticks, Irish
      potatoes, or guns.

      [Words of] DENNIS KEARNEY: I'm not to be deterred from this work by
      the vaporings of Chin Foo, Ah Coon, Hung Fat, Fi Fong or any other
      of Asia's almond-eyed lepers.

      MOYERS: Wong showed up at a rally – a crowd of white men drinking
      and cheering, plus Wong Chin Foo, heckling from a front row.

      SHAWN WONG: And Dennis Kearney dismissed him. But he made his point.
      He saw his statement to Dennis Kearney in all the newspapers of the
      day.

      MOYERS: Then Wong showed up in Chicago, agitating for the right to
      vote.

      [Words of] WONG CHIN FOO: We want Illinois, the place that Lincoln
      called home, to do for the Chinese what the North did for the
      Negroes.

      MOYERS: But how do you change laws when you don't have votes, or
      money or allies among whites? That was a problem no showmanship or
      eloquence couldsolve. In the 1890's, Wong Chin Foo vanished -- as
      suddenly as he'd appeared leaving no record, even, of where or when
      he died.


      ============


      Wong Chin Foo and Early Immigrant Activism
      http://www.asiansinamerica.org/museum/0304_museum.html

      The first Asian American New Yorker was a muckraker, a rabble-
      rouser, and a consummate smartass. Wong Chin Foo wasn't actually the
      first Asian in New York. By the time he arrived here in the 1870s,
      there were several hundred Chinese scattered throughout the city,
      and Asian sailors had been part of New York's multicultural mix
      since the early days of the republic. 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). And the bilingual Wong, self-described multinational
      rebel and "Heathen" missionary, was a brash champion of the Chinese
      during the decade when they first came to the city in significant
      numbers.

      Wong seemed an unlikely activist to a New York Times reporter who
      found him holding forth at Madame Blavatsky's 47th Street apartment
      in April 1877. Blavatsky, the founder of the mystical Theosophy
      Movement, had filled her living room with stuffed bats, snakes, a
      tiger's head, a baboon, and a crocodile swinging from the ceiling;
      she called the room "The Lamasery." In his dark silk-and-velvet
      coats, embroidered boots and skullcap, Wong, as his chronicler
      Arthur Bonner puts it, "blended nicely" into the menagerie. But he
      soon took to the stage to combat images of Asian exoticism and
      primitiveness. In a lecture at Steinway Hall, he scored the supposed
      barbarity of "Heathen Chinee" ways, announcing that, contrary to
      widespread belief, "I never knew that rats and puppies were good to
      eat until I was told by American people."

      Wong's sharp tongue made him a kind of Victorian media activist, a
      quote machine for the boys of Newspaper Row. But his wit was
      accompanied by fearlessness. In 1883, Irish American labor leader
      Denis Kearney, who had led the insurgent California Workingmen's
      Party by wedding class-consciousness to racism (the party's slogan
      was "The Chinese Must Go!"), came to the city to speak at the Great
      Hall of Cooper Union, where Abe Lincoln had once held forth. Wong
      challenged Kearney to a duel. "When a reporter," as Bonner
      recounts, "who found him smoking a cigar in the office of the
      Chinese American, asked him what weapons he would suggest, Wong
      replied: 'I give him his choice of chopsticks, Irish potatoes, or
      Krupp guns."' (Kearney demurred, saying "I'm not to be deterred by
      the low blackguard vaporings of Chin Foo or any other representative
      of Asia's almond-eyed lepers.")

      Wong's activism is all the more remarkable when one recalls the
      world of early Asian immigrants to New York. Thousands of Chinese
      came to the city in the late 19th century fleeing poverty and
      oppression in the American West, where they'd endured discriminatory
      taxes and racist laws (one statute barred Chinese, like blacks and
      Indians, from testifying in court against whites). Worse, anti-Asian
      violence erupted in pandemic proportions: In L.A., a mob lynched
      more than a dozen Chinese; in Rock Springs, Wyoming, white miners
      burned down Chinese homes and pitched wounded men into the flames.
      Dozens of other pogroms broke out all over the West (and were
      followed by attacks on Japanese, Korean, Indian, and Filipino
      Americans).

      The Chinese, and other Asian immigrants, found themselves caught in
      a class war cum race war. On one side, capitalists hailed Asians as
      cheap and docile drones, touting them in the South as replacements
      for newly freed slaves and in the North as a wedge against
      increasingly militant workers (the first large groups of Asians to
      come East were brought to seaboard factories as scabs). Meanwhile,
      potential allies in the labor movement shunned them. Many newly-
      arrived European immigrants, especially those from racially
      ambiguous groups like the Irish, were engaged in their own
      assimilation project: deflecting nativist hatred by promoting their
      whiteness. American Federation of Labor president Samuel Gompers,
      himself a Jewish immigrant, warned that the "invasion by Asiatic
      barbarians" threatened "civilization....It is our inheritance to
      keep it pure and uncontaminated....We are trustees for mankind."

      So the Chinese who sought refuge in New York were greeted with a
      Bronx cheer. Indeed, New Yorkers had their own history of racist
      violence: during the bloody Draft Riots of 1863, mobs of poor Irish
      protesters, angry about a Civil War draft replete with loopholes for
      the rich, turned on colored people, burning down the Colored Orphan
      Asylum, lynching and mutilating blacks, and attacking the Chinese in
      the Fourth Ward. Then, when the first Chinese work crews came East
      in 1870, Democratic New Yorkers responded in time-honored fashion:
      with a vitriolic rally in downtown's Tompkins Square. The lineup of
      speakers resembled a "directory of the city's most militant and
      class-conscious trade unions," as one reporter put it. Official New
      York made its appearance too, in the form of mayor A. Oakey Hall, a
      product of the immigrant-powered municipal political machine,
      Tammany Hall. (Tammany, friend of the formally despised Irish,
      German, and other newcomers, had little use for immigrants from
      Asia: denied the right to naturalize by national law, Asian
      Americans couldn't vote.)

      Despite everything, Asian Americans fought back. One spring day in
      1893, a laundryman named Fong Yue Ting, along with one of his Mott
      Street neighbors and another laundryman, walked up to the Federal
      Building and got himself arrested. Fong and his friends were making
      a show of their refusal to carry internal passports photo IDs
      similar to the passes blacks had to have under South African
      apartheid. The registration law was denounced by Wong Chin Foo,
      whose recently-formed Chinese Equal Rights League filled Cooper
      Union with supporters, and Fong's case made it all the way to the
      Supreme Court.

      In fact, the pass law challenge was just one of many. Early Asian
      immigrants were echt Americans in at least this sense: they were
      intensely litigious, filing thousands of suits and arguing hundreds
      of appeals before the Supreme Court. Sadly, most were lost causes:
      within a few weeks Fong and friends were sailing to China, deported
      from the country that had been their home their entire adult lives.

      The Exclusion Era: The Transnational Ghetto

      Anti-Asian movements succeeded in ghettoizing Asian Americans and
      blocking their continued immigration. But while the infamous
      exclusion laws isolated Asians in America, winds of change still
      blew in from across the Pacific. The denial of citizenship to Asian
      Americans had the effect of encouraging a transnational sense of
      community, and Asian New Yorkers were transfixed by revolutionary
      goings-on in their countries of origin. When Sun Yat-sen brought his
      insurrectionary message to New York in 1904 (to be hailed by Wong
      Chin Foo among others), he began a parade of radicals arriving in
      the city, including anti-Japanese Korean nationalists, Indian
      anticolonialists, Chinese communists, Filipino anti-Marcos
      stalwarts, even Ho Chi Minh (who lived for a time in Harlem).

      An immigrant family living in a Chinatown slum. Circa 1980s.

      Peripatetic Asian radicals had their effect on American politics as
      well. In the first decades of the century, student activists
      Taraknath Das and Har Dayal, who both briefly lived in New York,
      criss-crossed North America agitating for Indian independence (and
      joining forces with Wobblies--organizers with the brash
      International Workers of the World--Irish nationalists, and left
      luminaries like Emma Goldman and Clarence Darrow). In their wake
      trailed a gaggle of British, Canadian, and American government
      spies, some of the first agents of the nascent domestic surveillance
      network. Sen Katayama helped found Japan's socialist and labor
      movements, then, as a New Yorker, became a founding member of
      America's Communist Party in 1919. He befriended Harlem Renaissance
      poet Claude McKay in the '20s, served on the Comintern in the '30s,
      and, like John Reed, was buried in the Kremlin.

      The Russian Revolution, not to mention the rise of fascism in
      Europe, of course, changed everything, launching a constellation of
      radical groups, many CP satellites, some not. But just as
      fundamental to Asian America was the rise of the left in Asia, and
      of fascism in Japan. A few Asian Americans joined the Lincoln
      Brigade to fight fascism in Spain, while many moreaeJapanese anti-
      fascists, Chinese and Korean anti-imperialistsaejoined the battle
      against Japan. By the time the Depression hit, Asian Americans were
      awash in revolutionary ideas, which inevitably helped prompt Asian
      New Yorkers to question their own entrenched establishmentsaeboth
      non-Asian and Asian.

      In 1933, for example, after New York's Board of Aldermen passed a
      discriminatory Laundry Tax targeting the Chinese (the law required a
      $1000 bond from hand laundries that typically made about half that
      in profit each year), laundrymen threw themselves into a battle
      against both New York's government and the power structure of
      Chinatown, embodied by the estimable burghers of the Chinese
      Consolidated Benevolent Association.

      Then, as now, power in New York's Chinatown was built on an array of
      community associations borrowed from China and dominated, unlike in
      China, by a merchant elite. When the CCBA showed little interest in
      helping the laundrymen, more than 1000 of them poured into the
      basement of Mott Street's Transfiguration Church and emerged with a
      rebel group, the Chinese Hand Laundry Association. The CHLA saw
      itself as a harbinger of the new: it organized itself
      democratically, put itself on record against feudal ideas in Chinese
      society, and campaigned for progressive causes in and out of
      Chinatown. The CHLA beat back the onerous tax, but incurred the
      endless wrath of the CCBA, which for years sent goons to CHLA
      meetings, turned members in to immigration officials, and redbaited
      and sued supporters. Still, the CHLA persevered, even starting a
      newspaper, the China Daily News, which became the voice of
      Chinatown's left for decades to come.

      In the 30's other barriers began to give way: 1933 was also the year
      that a group of seamen split off from the corrupt and racist
      Seamen's International Union to form the National Maritime Union in
      New York. Chief among the NMU's positions was its welcome to black
      and Asian sailors, and when the NMU called a strike in 1936, 3000
      Chinese sailors and 20,000 black sailors joined the nationwide
      action. Actually, Asian American workers had long been militant,
      staging strikes, protests, and even riots at their worksites. The
      labor experiment that prompted the fiery Tompkins Square rally, for
      example, ended soon after workers, during a strike, chased a hated
      foreman out of their factory. But the NMU was one of the first
      unions to invite Asian workers into the official labor movement.

      The '30s were red-letter years for the Asian American left in New
      York. A young writer, H.T. Tsiang, hawked novels (like his
      anticapitalist satire, The Hanging on Union Square) at Greenwich
      Village political meetings. A Barnard graduate, Grace Leeaenow
      Detroit's inner-city matriarch Grace Lee Boggsaemet a Caribbean
      intellectual, C.L.R. James, and a feminist Russian Marxist, Raya
      Dunayevskaya, and formed a multicultural Trotskyist partnership. But
      December 7, 1941, exploded all that.

      When, for example, 110,000 Japanese Americans were rounded up and
      forced into concentration camps, Japanese American leftists were
      incarcerated too, despite their years of fervent campaigning against
      Japan's imperial government. The response of the American Communist
      Party? It backed the internment and booted all of its Japanese
      American members. Meanwhile, the focusing of Yellow Peril racism on
      the Japanese and Japanese Americans ironically brought down barriers
      against other, suddenly appreciated Asian Americans: exclusion laws
      against Filipinos, Indians, and Chinese were partially lifted. And
      mass naturalizations were allowed, so that Asian Americans could go
      to waraeas many as 40 per cent of New York's Chinese men fought.

      Asian America was never so fractured. Here in the city, a small
      group of activists calling themselves the Japanese American
      Committee for Democracy gamely tried to publicize the efforts of
      Japanese antimilitarists, and the China Daily News published
      resistance dispatches, but also prominent were "I Am Korean" and "I
      Am Chinese" buttons.

      That ethnic-exclusive identification would come to haunt Chinese
      Americans, when, after the war, the U.S. exchanged Asian enemies,
      substituting Red China for fascist Japan. Suddenly, government
      agents began hounding hundreds of Chinese, deporting and imprisoning
      dozens of others, including China Daily News editor Eugene Moy, who
      died soon after his jailing. The Immigration Service started
      something the Chinese called the Hon Pak plan--the "Chinese
      Confession Program", which called on Chinese America's paper sons to
      expose their false papers--as well as relatives and friends in the
      same boat. The government touted the program as a way for folks to
      adjust their legal status--then, as happened to so many pulled in by
      the post 9/11 special registration targeted at Arab and Muslim
      immigrants, the government deported scores. The confession program,
      along with blacklists and harassment, took a toll: both the CHLA and
      the Daily News were virtually shut down.

      The Invention of Asian America

      The Civil Rights Movement of the '50s and early '60s brought protest
      politics back and wrought changes for all people of color in
      America, but the sea change in Asian American life really came in
      its wake. Like the feminist movement, the Asian American Movement of
      the late '60s and early '70s took flight as the New Left sputtered.
      The Black Poweraeinflected Movement spawned a host of institutions,
      from ethnic studies departments to community health clinics,
      nurtured the first generation of Asian American artists and writers
      to cross over in a big way, and, perhaps most importantly,
      invented "Asian Americans" themselvesaethat is, people with a
      panethnic political identity based on shared American histories of
      immigration, discrimination, and resistance.

      In New York, the Asian American Movement can be traced, more or
      less, to a Madison Avenue Park bench, where in the fall of 1968 two
      women met for lunch. Kazu Iijima and Minn Matsuda, longtime friends
      and activists, wanted to start a Japanese American group for their
      college-age kids, but by the time they'd finished canvassing
      everyone they knew (and didn't know) in Asian New York, the
      two "crazy little old ladies"aeas Iijima laughingly puts it nowaehad
      come up with the first Movement organization, Asian Americans for
      Action.

      Triple A's first members included Yuri Kochiyama, the Harlem-based
      comrade of Malcolm X, as well as a contingent of second-and third-
      generation activists. "War brought us together," says Iijima.
      Indeed, opposition to the Vietnam War galvanized Asian Americans,
      who added a racial analysis to the antiwar movement, linking
      American military excursions in Asia to an imperial project driven
      by "gookism," just as the term gook itselfaea child of America's war
      in the Philippinesaelater migrated to Korea, then Vietnam, among
      other destinations. But just as feminists found themselves
      marginalized in New Left organizations, Asian activists were often
      shunted to the side of the antiwar movement. The result was to
      foster independent Asian American organization and to bring
      disparate Asian groups together.

      Meanwhile, a flood of organizations of every sort was precipitating
      change all over Asian New York. And crucially, activists of each
      Asian ethnicity increasingly considered their fortunes linked and
      their pasts connected. As Chris Iijima, Kazu's son and also one of
      the founders of Triple A, puts it, "there were so many things going
      on at different levels, a cross-pollination happened." Or as he,
      Nobuko (Joanne) Miyamoto, and Charlie Chin sang on the 1973 ur-
      Movement folkie album A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggle by
      Asians in America:

      We are the children of the migrant worker
      We are the offspring of the concentration camp.
      Sons and daughters of the railroad builder
      Who leave their stamp on Amerika.

      Typical of the new groups was Chinatown's Basement Workshop, which
      spawned one of the first panethnic Asian American magazines, Bridge,
      and the first Asian American arts journal, Yellow Pearl. Also
      typical was the way Basement became the site of internecine warfare
      between various fast-blooming Marxist factions. Indeed, sectarian
      energies animated by the supposedly imminent Revolution helped
      generate all kinds of activityaestorefront legal clinics; guerrilla
      theater; large demos against police brutality, employment
      discrimination, even Chinatown touristsaeas well as hefty doses of
      paranoia and more-Mao-than-thou posturing.

      Not that a portion of paranoia was uncalled for: in at least one
      case, the government targeted Asian American activistsaeas it did
      much of the countercultureaeaccusing two founders of the Chinatown
      Health Clinic, Kenny Chin and Liz Young, of plotting to assassinate
      the emperor of Japan! The government's logic was outrageously fuzzy,
      as Chin recalls: "the FBI pointed out that Liz had lived in a house
      with Joanne Miyamoto, who had been associated with Yuri Kochiyama,
      who was associated with members of the Black Liberation Army, who
      were known to have been trying to get into events where the emperor
      was to appear." But prosecutors persisted nonetheless, convicting
      Young and Vietnam vet Chin on minor weapons charges after a mistrial.

      Ultimately, though, the conservative morning in America may have had
      the greatest effect on the Asian American Movement: Reagan-Bush era
      policies sapped community funds, put labor organizers on the
      defensive, and stymied civil rights progress. Nevertheless, the post-
      '60s hangover feels a bit different to many Asian Americans, since
      the dropping of racist immigration quotas in 1965 has led to
      explosive growth in Asian American communities.

      The first generation to call themselves Asian Americans discovered a
      common past partly because their American histories were so similar.
      Exclusion laws gave the Asian American experience a kind of
      shapeaeearly immigration followed by a long drought and assimilation
      struggles for the American-born generations. It took a while for the
      1965 revisionsaenot intended to foster Asian immigration, by the
      wayaeto have an effect, but now the majority of Asian America is
      foreign-born.

      Meanwhile, the huge increase in Filipino, South Asian, and Southeast
      Asian immigration is likewise reshaping the community: 30 years
      ago "Yellow Power" rose and fell as a slogan; today, that moniker
      would be unthinkable, not so much for its dated power politics as
      for its monochromatic picture of Asian America. And while
      many "Uptown" Asiansaeespecially second-, third-, and fourth-
      generation typesaenow grapple with problems like glass ceilings,
      many "Downtown" Asiansaeincluding new immigrantsaestruggle in
      society's bottom tiers. Still, new Asian immigrant communities are
      making more and more noise: the South Asian cabbies, Filipino health
      workers, Southeast Asian studentsaeall are insisting on a place at
      the table.

      Asian activism in New York has also been reshaped by 9/11. Not only
      because the bombing of the World Trade Center set off a continuing
      period of dire hardship in nearby Chinatown, but because the Bush
      administration's crackdown on terrorism has torn apart Asian
      immigrant neighborhoods in New York--like the Pakistani community,
      which has seen more than 10,000 of its members leave America in a
      mass exodus. In Brooklyn's Pakistani enclaves, late-night visits by
      FBI and INS agents, with hundreds being hauled away and hundreds
      more detained and deported, led to widespread fear, which was soon
      followed by depression--the economic as well as emotional kind. The
      suffering has been a steep challenge for grassroots groups like
      Desis Rising Up and Moving, which had already started to focus on
      immigrant detention--the fastest growing portion of the
      incarceration boom--when the administration's crackdown led to an
      escalation in the numbers of the detained.

      The growth in new Asian immigrant communities--as well as the
      necessity of responding to post-9/11 anti-immigrant measures--have
      unsettled things within the Asian American activist world, raising
      questions about power and panethnicity. The path of one New York
      activist organization that took hold in the '80s and '90s, CAAAV:
      Organizing Asian Communities, reflects the rise of this new,
      multicultural, largely immigrant world and its urgent concern with
      basic needs. CAAAV's director, Jane Bai, is a second-generation
      Korean American woman (who succeeded Anannya Bhattacharjee, a first-
      generation South Asian woman), and its initial focus on anti-Asian
      violence has morphed into campaigns against police brutality,
      government neglect and attacks, and workers' struggles involving
      Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Pakistani immigrants.

      Despite the atmosphere of repression, the current moment holds some
      promise for NYC's APA activists. Movement-born institutions like the
      New York Asian Women's Center, the Asian American Legal Defense and
      Education Fund, and the Chinese Staff and Workers' Association have
      managed to reach adulthood with their social change agenda intact,
      and comprise a kind of progressive old school. Meanwhile, new
      grassroots groups, gay and lesbian activists, AIDS organizations,
      veterans of the new global justice movements who've come back from
      the World Social Forums in Brazil and Mumbai, and a new generation
      of politically charged artists have joined them. John Kuo Wei Tchen,
      director of NYU's Asian Pacific American program, remembers the '70s
      fondly (he founded the Chinatown History Project as a member of
      Basement Workshop). But noting the grassroots movement flowering in
      new Asian communities, he's come to feel, he says, that for Asian
      American activism, "the renaissance is now."

      Versions of this article appeared in The Village Voice and Social
      Policy. Andrew Hsiao is a senior editor with The New Press, the
      nonprofit publishing house in New York. He co-produces Asia Pacific
      Forum on WBAI 99.5 FM, and was for many years a writer and editor
      with The Village Voice. His articles have appeared in The New York
      Times, The Washington Post, Spin, American Theatre, A Magazine, and
      other publications. He lives in Brooklyn.


      ==========


      Yonkers Chinese Documents
      http://www.archives.nysed.gov/projects/legacies/Yonkers/Y_Chinese/doc
      index/Yon_ch_ChinFooWong2.htm


      Excerpt from Wong, Chin Foo. "The Chinese in New York."
      Cosmopolitan 5 (March-October 1888): 297-311.

      "Suppose I have an established laundry, and want to borrow two
      hundred dollars at a certain percent premium, but I cannot find any
      one Chinaman who is able to loan me the amount. I put up a notice in
      Mott Street that upon such and such a day I wish to make a "whey" of
      twenty men, who all are supposed to be situated like myself, each
      wanting to borrow two hundred dollars.

      When we twenty borrowers all come together, we each put down ten
      dollars. Then each one secretly writes upon a slip of paper the
      amount of interest he is willing to give to get the two hundred
      dollars. These slips are carefully sealed and thrown into a bowl.

      At a given time they are opened, and to the highest bidder goes the
      two hundred dollars, less the interest, which is invariably deducted
      immediately from the principal. Frequently as high as four dollars
      is offered for the use of ten dollars for a single month.

      In such cases each of the nineteen other borrowers gives to the
      lucky one only six dollars apiece for the ten dollars apiece which
      they make him pay next month. Then the next highest bidder gets the
      two hundred dollars, less the interest he offered, and so on, until
      the entire twenty, at twenty different times, have obtained the use
      of this two hundred dollars; but the one that comes the last, having
      offered the least interest of them all, reaps the harvest of
      the "whey."

      This method is adopted by most Chinese laundrymen, in New York and
      other large cities, to open new laundries."


      ===========


      Claiming America
      Constructing Chinese American Identities during the Exclusion Era
      edited by K. Scott Wong and Sucheng Chan
      Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies, 2001
      http://www.temple.edu/tempress/titles/1332_reg.html


      This collection of essays centers on the formation of an ethnic
      identity among Chinese Americans during the period when immigration
      was halted. The first section emphasizes the attempts by immigrant
      Chinese to assert their intention of becoming Americans and to
      defend the few rights they had as resident aliens. Highlighting such
      individuals as Yung Wing, an ardent advocate of American social and
      political ideals, and Wong Chin Foo, one of the first activists for
      Chinese citizenship and voting rights, these essays speak eloquently
      about the early struggles in the Americanization movement.

      The second section shows how children of the immigrants developed a
      sense of themselves as having a distinct identity as Chinese-
      Americans. For this generation, many of the opportunities available
      to other immigrants' children were simply inaccessible.

      In some districts explicit policies kept Chinese children in
      segregated schools; in many workplaces discriminatory practices kept
      them from being hired or from advancing beyond the lowest positions.
      In the 1930s, in fact, some Chinese-Americans felt their only option
      was to emigrate to China, where they could find jobs better matched
      to their abilities. Many young Chinese women who were eager to take
      advantage of the educational and work options opening to women in
      the wider U.S. society first had to overcome their family's
      opposition and then racism.

      As the personal testimonies and historical biographies eloquently
      attest, these young people deeply felt the contradictions between
      Chinese and American ways; but they also saw themselves as having to
      balance the demands of the two cultures rather than as having to
      choose between them.


      =======================


      BECOMING AMERICAN: THE CHINESE EXPERIENCE
      http://66.102.7.104/search?
      q=cache:FdnUt3JCahAJ:www.pbs.org/becomingamerican/program2_transcript
      .pdf+%22Wong+Chin+Foo%22&hl=en


      In 1887, a rancher out looking for his stray cattle on the Snake
      River between Idaho and Oregon came upon a gruesome scene: the
      remains of human beings washed up in a creek. They were so picked
      over by buzzards and coyotes that neither their features nor their
      race could be identified.


      GREG NOKES (Journalist): Some of the bodies were found, one was
      found headless. Others were found with axe wounds; just horrible,
      horrible crime was committed there. The savagery of the crime would
      indicate that it was more than just a robbery.

      MOYERS: 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.

      GREG NOKES: 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.

      MOYERS: Local residents rallied around the suspects; only three were
      tried, and a jury freed them all. The Snake River Massacre was not
      an isolated incident. In 1882, the U.S. passed the Exclusion Act –
      to stop Chinese laborers from entering the country and deprive those
      here of citizenship. That law ushered in the most violent decade in
      Chinese-American history.

      JOHN FINDLAY: The spread of the anti Chinese feeling was like a
      disease going through the white population. They became the
      scapegoats. They became sort of the solution. If we could just get
      rid of them, then our fortune would be better.

      MOYERS: The Chinese were foreign, did not belong here at all. This
      old idea was given new life by the law. In Tacoma, Washington, six
      hundred Chinese were expelled and their houses burned to the ground.
      The Chinese of Juneau, Alaska were loaded onto boats and set adrift.
      In Rock Springs, Wyoming, twenty-eight were killed, the rest driven
      out.

      LING-CHI WANG (Historian): …Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington,
      California, Chinese were lynched. Chinatown was burned. Chinese were
      run out.

      MOYERS: The last of the great fires was San Jose. When arsonists
      turned its Chinatown to rubble, a seventeen-year old named Young
      Song Quoin packed up and fled. Like thousands of other Chinese
      across the West, he made his way to the one place that seemed safe,
      where the sights and sounds were reminders of home: Dai Fow, "Big
      City," San Francisco's Chinatown.

      [Words of] ARNOLD GENTHE: In order to get any pictures at all I had
      to hide indoor ways. I waited for the sun to filter through the
      shadows or for some picturesque character to appear.

      MOYERS: In 1895, a German photographer named Arnold Genthe wandered
      into a Francisco's Chinatown. But for him, we would have almost no
      visual record of this world. Tong Yun Gai, the Chinese street,
      headquarters of Chinese America. The sidewalks were crowded with
      peddlers, cobblers and fortune-tellers, servicing the migrant
      laborers who converged here when their work was done. Fish-cutters
      from the Alaska canneries, fruit-pickers from the San Joaquin valley
      thronged the herbal stores and rice-shops, temples and gambling
      halls.

      SHAWN WONG (Writer): Turn of the century San Francisco Chinatown for
      a Chinese was the center of their world in America.

      PETER KWONG (Writer): You will hear the shouts of vendors selling
      their ware[s]. There are also people speaking all different kinds
      of dialects. Toishan Hakka Canton City dialect

      MOYERS: Six blocks long and two wide, Chinatown was a country within
      a country, filled with temptation for an ambitious young man hungry
      for life. Young had worked as a houseboy — got a taste, there, of
      American ways -- and now, the ways of Dai Fow.

      CONNIE YOUNG YU (Family Historian): My grandfather loved living in
      San Francisco Chinatown. Because he liked going out with his
      friends. There were restaurants. And his favorite, favorite activity
      was going to the opera. And there were three opera houses. Three
      opera houses to choose from.

      MOYERS: But it was an insular world this young man was in – cut off
      by the Exclusion Law, from American civic life. The law had barred
      Chinese laborers, the first time the U.S. excluded immigrants based
      on nationality or race. Those already here could stay, but could not
      become citizens.

      L. LING-CHI WANG: Essentially Chinese were declared permanent aliens.

      CHARLES MCCLAIN (Historian): It meant that they could never
      participate in elections. That politicians would never have to pay
      any attention to them. And, I think also it had a kind of symbolic
      significance in that it sort of read them permanently out of the
      American political community.

      MOYERS: The story of the Exclusion years is of a people in between
      countries, often unsure to which they belonged. It's about families
      kept apart . . . lives shaped and mis-shaped by Chinese custom as
      well as U.S. law. To become American, the Chinese would have to wage
      a long campaign, not just in public, but inside their homes. In the
      early days, homes were few in this society of men. They slept in
      boarding houses and gathered at the store run by their clan: Wongs
      at the Wong store, Lees at the Lees'. Bachelors, they were called,
      though half were married, their wives left back in China. The store
      was a makeshift home, hiring hall, social club, and where, for a few
      cents, letter writers would help those who were illiterate trade
      words back and forth.

      ACTOR READS LETTER: Beloved parents: Kneeling at your feet, your
      prodigal son begs you not to worry about him. Enclosed is thirty
      dollars. Your unworthy son…

      ACTRESS READS LETTER: My Husband-lord: According to Mr. Wang, you
      are indulging in sensuality, and have no desire to return home. I am
      shocked and pained…

      ACTOR READS LETTER: My Beloved Wife: Because I can get no gold, I am
      detained in this secluded corner of a strange land.

      ACTOR READS LETTER:"Chin-hsin My Son, Take Notice,

      I hope you will [soon] be home and get married. I may already be
      dead and gone by the time you come back. Would you feel sorry then?
      …"

      MOYERS: Family and tradition pushed the men back to China. So did
      U.S. law –with a vengeance.

      STANFORD LYMAN (Historian): The Exclusion Act made it virtually
      impossible for Chinese to have a normal family life inside the
      United States. The Exclusion law applied to Chinese laborers. It
      exempted merchants, travelers and students. What this meant to the
      Chinese who could not become a merchant, and what it meant was not a
      student or a traveler what it meant was that he could not bring his
      wife.

      MOYERS: The so-called "bachelors" worked and saved and waited to go
      home. But Young didn't save: optimistic, unattached, he earned his
      wages at a downtown hotel and then spent them with friends.

      CONNIE YOUNG YU: When my grandfather Yung left the village, he
      promised his parents that he would be back in ten years. Every year
      went to another year and another year and he did not realize, you
      know, ten years had gone by and he received a letter from his mother
      saying your father has passed away. And he went into the deepest
      mourning and the mourning was mixed with great regret that he did
      not fulfill his promise.

      MOYERS: Young was now stepping into the great quandary of the
      Exclusion Years: how to sustain a family life across the Pacific. He
      sailed to China to visit his father's grave, and choose a bride, Gum
      Gee. But scratching out a living in the village was not the future
      he wanted. He returned to the U.S. alone; Gum Gee would serve her
      new mother-in-law, as custom prescribed.

      CONNIE YOUNG YU: I think [Gum Gee] was very realistic. She knew that
      it'd be years before she saw her husband again because that was the
      way things were.

      MOYERS: Gum Gee was just twenty. She knew the law: her husband, a
      laborer, had to become a merchant to send for her. She worked the
      fields; she harvested; she waited. He worked at a store, saving
      carefully until he could buy it. No more luxuries for him now – and
      no trips home. Years passed.

      CONNIE YOUNG YU: Her mother-in-law, as the years went by… was very,
      very discouraging and said, you shouldn't go to America, you're just
      so old. And you're getting unattractive. You're not gonna have any
      children. Why ruin my son's future?

      MOYERS: Gum Gee honored custom and her mother-in-law for fourteen
      years before she got the word she was waiting for. She sailed to
      California, a merchant's wife.

      CONNIE YOUNG YU: My grandfather was waiting at the dock holding a
      box of dim sum, you know, special delicacies for his wife. And my
      grandmother actually could see him. She was very self-conscious. She
      had aged quite a bit. And she really looked older than 35. And I
      think she was very aware of that. And here he is trying to, be
      pleasant and-- and he's trying to say nothing's happened, you know.
      Welcome to America. And she looked at him, standing there. She
      wanted to grab that box of dim sum and throw it back in his face.

      MOYERS: The Youngs settled themselves by doing what they knew best:
      they worked. And at 36, Gum Gee bore their first son. But as with so
      many others --who also waited –- she never forgot.

      CONNIE YOUNG YU: I don't think she ever forgave her husband for her
      lost youth. There was no one to take it out on but her husband. I
      would hear her talk and kind of harangue him every day and just
      scold him. And the tone of voice, like she was really begrudging him
      that time that he spent in America not working hard enough or not
      saving fast enough. The pain that came with the Exclusion laws was
      what stayed with them the rest of their lives.

      MOYERS: Congress was not finished with the Chinese. Over the years,
      the Exclusion laws would tighten the grip on those already here and
      those who wished to come. The first change came in 1888. Until then,
      Chinese laborers in America had papers allowing them to move back
      and forth to China. Abruptly, the Scott Act changed the rules.

      L. LING-CHI WANG: That certificate says that you have the right to
      travel abroad and come back. That was rendered invalid by our
      government. At the time that this act was going through Congress
      there were twenty thousand Chinese who were visiting their love ones
      at home. There were some people who were already on the boat about
      five hundred of them arriving, and only, of course, to be turned
      back.

      MOYERS: More anti-Chinese laws came, in quick succession. The
      Exclusion law expired in 1892; it was renewed with an added sting:
      identity papers just for the Chinese, to be carried at all times.

      CHARLES MCCLAIN: And if they didn't have that in their possession
      they were subject to arrest and deportation. And this was a very,
      very, this was the first time the United States had ever introduced
      anything quite like this

      MOYERS: The Chinese hated the law; tens of thousands refused to
      register and mobilized a public campaign to overturn it.

      [Words of] WONG CHIN FOO: 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.

      MOYERS: His name was Wong Chin Foo; he was a journalist, a showman,
      a provocateur. He wanted more than a new immigration law, more even
      than equal rights. For him it was also personal: he wanted respect.

      SHAWN WONG: He was the master of what we now know as the soundbite:
      Chinese don't eat rats. I will pay someone five hundred dollars if
      they can prove that Chinese eat rats.

      MOYERS: Where he came from, or why, is a mystery. But by 1880 he was
      lecturing any U.S. audience he could find. Confucius, he said, lived
      five hundred years before Jesus who was a Johnny-come-lately.
      Assimilation? You try it, he said. Anybody here want to become
      Chinese? He meant to shock - as when he gave his newspaper its name.

      L. LING-CHI WANG: He actually put, you know, the word Chinese
      American onto his newspaper, you know, like a banner and it's like
      claiming, you know, America for himself. And in the process, I
      think, claiming America for the rest of the Chinese American
      community.

      MOYERS: 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.

      SHAWN WONG: Wong Chin Foo put himself out there to be the target.
      And so he challenged Dennis Kearney to a duel, you know. Let's fight
      it out in the street. You and me. Mano a mano.

      MOYERS: Of course newspapers couldn't resist. "What weapons?"
      reporters wanted to know. "Kearney's choice," Wong shot back.

      [Words of] WONG CHIN FOO: I give him the choice of chopsticks, Irish
      potatoes, or guns.

      [Words of] DENNIS KEARNEY: I'm not to be deterred from this work by
      the vaporings of Chin Foo, Ah Coon, Hung Fat, Fi Fong or any other
      of Asia's almond-eyed lepers.

      MOYERS: Wong showed up at a rally – a crowd of white men drinking
      and cheering, plus Wong Chin Foo, heckling from a front row.

      SHAWN WONG: And Dennis Kearney dismissed him. But he made his point.
      He saw his statement to Dennis Kearney in all the newspapers of the
      day.

      MOYERS: Then Wong showed up in Chicago, agitating for the right to
      vote.

      [Words of] WONG CHIN FOO: We want Illinois, the place that Lincoln
      called home, to do for the Chinese what the North did for the
      Negroes.

      MOYERS: But how do you change laws when you don't have votes, or
      money or allies among whites? That was a problem no showmanship or
      eloquence couldsolve. In the 1890's, Wong Chin Foo vanished -- as
      suddenly as he'd appeared leaving no record, even, of where or when
      he died.


      But by then the Chinese were deep into another fight.

      L. LING-CHI WANG: They somehow grasped this very important concept
      that America prides itself in being a country ruled by law.

      STANFORD LYMAN: The one venue open to them since they were not
      allowed to be citizens, since they were not allowed to serve on
      juries, since they were not allowed to vote, since they were
      nobody's constituency was the court. And why was that? Because of
      one word in the Fourteenth Amendment. No state shall deny to any
      person the equal protections of the law. The Fourteenth Amendment
      did not apply to only to citizens of the US. It applied to persons.
      And it was as persons that the Chinese brought case after case.

      MOYERS: The law had been no friend to the Chinese. They were barred
      from public schools, and from hospitals. There were special taxes on
      Chinese miners, launderers, fishermen. But this was not a fate the
      Chinese would accept.

      L. LING-CHI WANG: almost – every single anti Chinese law that got
      enacted in California, whether it be local or state, you will find
      Chinese contesting it.

      MOYERS: The first great battle was over the so-called "Cubic Air
      Ordinance" in San Francisco, on its face an innocent health measure.

      STANFORD LYMAN: Under this ordinance no person was allowed to stay
      in a room, in an apartment, unless there was five hundred cubic feet
      of air space foreach person. This law was enforced only in the
      Chinese quarter of the city whereChinese workers often bunked in
      triple bunks, double bunks, in small rooms.

      MOYERS: The police swept through the Chinese quarter, making
      arrests. But the elders of Chinatown ordered the men not to pay
      their fines -- to crowd the jails instead. Then their lawyer turned
      the logic of the law against the city itself. Was this not a health
      violation? Were there five hundred cubic feet of air for every
      prisoner?

      STANFORD LYMAN: The city was not only embarrassed and furious but
      sought revenge.

      CHARLES MCCLAIN: So, A law was passed in 1876, which said that all
      prisoners committed to the county jail should have their hair cut
      off to within one inch of the scalp. It was clearly designed to
      humiliate male Chinese prisoners who wore their hair in a long
      braided queue.

      MOYERS: The Chinese sued for damages, and reached Judge Stephen
      Field on the Circuit Court, who over a long and distinguished career
      had done nothing to hide his dislike of the Chinese.

      STANFORD LYMAN: Justice Field asked the representatives of the City
      of San Francisco what for what purpose they had enacted this
      statute. And they answered. That it had to do with lice being in
      people's hair and that they shaved their head for that reason. But
      Justice Field noted that the law only shaved the heads of male
      prisoners. So he wanted to know if it was believed by San Francisco
      that women prisoners had never had lice. That there was something
      genetic, was there something genetic about women that they could not
      have dirty hair? And the city could not answer that. Then Justice
      Field went on in a famous statement he said, when we are appointed
      to the bench we are not struck blind. He then pulled out the record
      of the enactment of the law in the city council and showed that the
      purpose of the law was to harass the Chinese for sitting in the
      jails. In other words, he said, what you are doing is punishing
      people for availing themselves of their own rights.

      He said look, he has no friendship toward the Chinese. That he
      wishes there could be a way to keep them out of the country. But, he
      points out, when it comes to violating the Constitution, the
      Constitution comes first. He will not permit that.

      MOYERS: That case set the precedent. And in 1886, a San Francisco
      laundryman, harassed by the city, took his complaint all the way to
      the Supreme Court, and won. Now the protection of all "persons" was
      the supreme law of the land. And the Chinese weren't done.

      CHARLES MCCLAIN: The opening words of the 14th Amendment say that
      all persons born in the United States are citizens of the United
      States. But what about Chinese born in the United States?

      MOYERS: Wong Kim Ark was a 22-year-old cook born in San Francisco.
      But after visiting China, he was stopped, when he tried to come back
      to the country. If he was born here, he was a citizen. But the law
      said, Chinese couldn't be citizens. Wong sued.[Words of] U.S.
      Solicitor General: "Are Chinese children born in this country to
      share with the descendants of the patriots of the American
      Revolution the exalted qualification of being eligible to the
      Presidency of the Nation?"

      MOYERS: It took the Supreme Court to remind the government that the
      words of the 14thAmendment meant just what they said. A person born
      in America was an American.

      CHARLES MCCLAIN: If you look at the record of Chinese activism in
      the courts, they had assimilated to the extent that they understood
      that there were American political institutions that they could use.

      L. LING-CHI WANG: It sort of contradicts, a popular stereotype the
      Chinese usually just, you know, take it lying down and, very
      stoically accepted, whatever fate that they were assigned by
      American society when in fact they were very, very active in the
      pursuit of their rights, the pursuit of their dignity in American
      society against all odds.

      VOICE OF ACTRESS: "The signer of this contract, Sun Gum, hereby
      accepts that she became indebted to her master for food and passage
      from China to San Fransisco. She shall willingly use her body as a
      prostitute at Tan Fu's place for four and one-half years. She shall
      receive no wages… …if she becomes pregnant she shall work one year
      extra. Should Sun Gum run away, she shall pay all expenses incurred
      in finding and returning her to the brothel…If she contracts the
      four loathsome diseases she shall be returned to China." Thumb print
      of Sun Gum

      MOYERS: No-one knows what happened to Sun Gum: whether she was
      shipped back to China . . . or survived long enough to be a free
      woman here. But one thing is sure: the public campaigns that
      Chinatown waged, the great court battles it fought for its freedoms,
      were not waged by or for its women. While its men fought the
      oppression of whites, women fought the oppression of Chinatown
      itself. And in the Chinese push for freedom in America, this was the
      second front.

      L. LING-CHI WANG: It was not easy to grow up as a woman in Chinatown
      in those days. They were brought up not only to be good wives,
      obedient wife, but to be, good mother, to serve the husband, to
      serve the in-laws and to serve even the male children.

      PETER KWONG: Chinese come from very strong patriarchal society. With
      very strong feudal feelings against woman.

      MOYERS: Tradition held that a virtuous wife should stay in her
      Chinese village: the few who broke custom by coming here were
      expected to serve. To please their husbands, many had their feet
      bound so tightly that they were crippled.

      PETER KWONG: The custom of bound feet in the main is to restrict the
      mobility of women so they would not travel too far away from home
      and get into troubles. And there are those men who believe that the
      shape of a small foot is erotic.

      JUDY YUNG (Historian): The merchant wives they were pretty much
      housebound, and they didn't go out in public because it was
      considered indiscreet or improper for women to be seen in public.

      MOYERS: Husbands were free to take concubines into the home – or
      second wives. Arranged marriages were common, often against a young
      girl's will. And these were the lucky ones. The harshest lives
      belonged to the prostitutes, and in the 1880's, they were almost
      half the women in Chinatown. Gangsters roamed the Chinese
      countryside, looking for parents so poor they would sell their
      daughters – fifty dollars was the going price. Girls as young as six
      were smuggled in and sold as mui tsai, indentured servants. Brothels
      bid for the older girls, who, in America, could fetch a thousand
      dollars or more, a windfall to their smugglers.

      JUDY YUNG: When the women were brought in to this country, they
      would be auctioned off. Many of the women did not outlive the terms
      of their contracts. When they did become ill and died, sometimes
      there were reports that their bodies were discarded in the streets,
      they weren't given decent burials. They weren't shipped back to
      China like the men were. It just speaks to how little value is
      attached to women and women's lives.

      MOYERS: The women couldn't turn for help to the police, who were
      indifferent to crime in Chinatown, or to law-abiding citizens who
      were terrorized by the Chinese gangsters, the "Tongmen." Their
      refuge was the Protestant Church, and one iron-willed missionary.

      BUDDY CHOY: I remember seeing her once in my life when I was about
      13 years old. She was a tall, domineering presence when she walked
      in the room. She came to a Chinatown that she knew nothing about.
      She didn't speak a word of Chinese.

      MOYERS: Donaldina Cameron barged her way into San Francisco's
      Chinatown in1895. She came to the Presbyterian Mission Home a
      teacher, but when she saw the lives of women around her, she heard
      God's call. She drew allies among Chinese women in the Home: Wu Tien
      Fu, once an indentured servant, became her aide and interpreter. And
      soon they were a common sight: Cameron dressed in a worsted British
      suit and Eton collar, swooping down on a brothel, policemen in tow.

      JUDY YUNG: She would go onto the rooftops and get in through the
      skylights….and get into the brothel grab the girl running back to
      the mission home

      BUDDY CHOY: It was like something out of Hollywood. It was like a
      King Kong movie. I really did not believe it (laughs).

      JUDY YUNG: Tong men would guard the brothels and make sure that they
      didn't escape. It was amazing that doing as many rescue raids as
      she did, she did not ever get hurt herself, and she was always
      threatened that dynamite sticks would be found outside the home. And
      there were all kinds of messages.... threats.... sent to her.

      MOYERS: But her work was about much more than prostitutes: any girls
      or women suffering at the hands of men she wanted rescued and
      sheltered at the Mission. There, they'd be remolded in the image of
      God and of His chosen instrument, Cameron herself. There were
      classes in English and needlework; there was Bible study, housework.
      Girls complained about the austere regimen; some fled. But many
      seized their chance and made new lives. Mission girls would be
      among the first Chinese-American women to go to University . . .
      would be among the first to vote. And many joined the mission's
      crusade and in time helped stamp out the traffic in slave-girls. A
      revolt was taking form that would upend the old ways of Chinatown –
      though, at the turn of the century, it was just barely in view.

      MOYERS: In 1900, Europeans were pouring through Ellis Island. The
      Bureau of Immigration spot-checked them for disease, kept an eye out
      for criminals. But, beyond that, there were few restrictions, and
      most got through within hours. Since Exclusion, some ten million
      Europeans had entered the country. Over that time, the tiny Chinese
      population of 120,000 had dropped further still– to 90,000.

      PETER KWONG: Chinese has the sorry distinction as the only immigrant
      group that I know of in American history their population declined.
      The Exclusion Act did exactly what they intended it for.

      MOYERS: The law had been renewed every ten years. But prominent
      Americans now called for a tougher law – none more loudly than the
      labor leader Samuel Gompers. As a young immigrant himself, Gompers
      had worked as a cigar maker, and after he watched the Chinese take
      hold of that industry, in the 1870s, he never forgot it. This
      tornado of a man, now the most powerful labor leader in the country,
      made it a mission to keep the Chinese out of America and its work
      force. And he was one of many: the labor movement was filled with
      enemies of the Chinese.

      PETER KWONG: They were driven out of blue collar working class jobs.
      There were many, many Chinese working sewing industries and they
      were driven out. In boot and shoe making they were driven out. They
      were forced out in fishing, farming. Cigar-making.

      MOYERS: But if the Chinese threat to labor had long passed, Gompers'
      passion had not. In 1901, he carried his message personally to the
      new President. He got no argument from Teddy Roosevelt – and not
      much at his next stop, Capitol Hill.

      SHAWN WONG: So this was Gompers message to Congress:" The free
      immigration of Chinese would be for all purposes an invasion by
      Asiatic barbarians. It is our inheritance to keep civilization pure
      and uncontaminated. We are trustees for mankind."

      ERIKA LEE (Historian): By 1902 the question is no longer should the
      United States restrict immigration. It's how to restrict immigration
      and how to do it better.

      MOYERS: In 1902, Congress expanded Exclusion to Hawaii and the
      Philippines. Then, two years later, it rewrote all its anti-Chinese
      laws so they would last forever.

      PETER KWONG: The law was passed in Congress with almost no debate,
      no discussion.

      MOYERS: That same year, a popular magazine carefully reviewed the
      Chinese population. It was aging. There were few girls or women.
      There was much illness. Cheerfully, the author predicted extinction.
      By 1930 or `40, he said, the Chinese in America would be gone.

      SHAWN WONG (University of Washington, Seattle): The Chinese were the
      first immigrant group excluded from America. Therefore they became
      the first to have to sneak into the country. The Chinese would dress
      up as Mexicans learn a few phrases of Spanish. You can imagine a
      Chinese immigrant walking across the border and saying "QuePasa" or
      something like that in his own Toishan-Mexican dialect. Another way
      was through Cuba. They would get on the ship and work as a crew
      member and some of the Chinese painted themselves black to make
      themselves look Cuban jump ship and there you are. You're in
      America, you're Cuban but you're in America.

      MOYERS: It was at the border that the drama of Chinese Exclusion
      played out, where whites and Chinese acted out the parts handed them
      by the law. Chinese diplomats and merchants were welcome: the rest
      had to fend for themselves.1906 -- San Francisco's great earthquake,
      followed by days of fire, and three thousand dead. Chinatown was
      burned to the ground – a catastrophe, or so it seemed.

      SHAWN WONG: The 1906 San Francisco earthquake was a stroke of good
      luck for Chinese. Because of the resulting fire that burned much of
      the city and burned many of the immigration records of Chinese, the
      Chinese could now say I was born in America and no one could prove
      them wrong.

      MOYERS: Here was an opening -- and for the next forty years the
      Chinese would use their wits and money to make the most of it. Now
      the law –- and the math -–were on their side. Because if they could
      persuade an official they were born here, they became citizens and
      their children did too.

      NEIL THOMSEN (National Archives, 1987-99): They could go to the
      Immigration Bureau and say I'm Mr. Lee. I am going to make a visit
      to China. I have three sons. I'm bringing those three sons in. Now
      maybe he has those three sons and maybe he doesn't

      PETER KWONG: They would claim more than what they would actually
      have as their children. And these-- slots could be given to their
      friends' children or in fact sold to others so other people could
      come to the United States and claim to be American citizens. And
      this is called paper son.

      BOB CHIN: That is how I got over here, by using the paper son
      citizenship. The paper cost about $2,000.00.

      SUK WAN LEE: My parents bought a paper -- for $4,500.My mother
      hadn't wanted me to come over because it cost so much.

      MOYERS: But getting hold of the papers was just the beginning. Now
      you had to learn about the family and the village in China you were
      pretending was yours. That assumed identity had to be memorized --
      from a coaching book.

      NEIL THOMSEN: Coaching letters can be sometimes 50, 60 pages.
      Sometimes they have maps of the village on them. They're as big as a
      library table … an elaborate map showing every house the name of
      every person living in the house.

      BOB CHIN: And I would say I would take about three months or so
      studying that document and get it more or less, you know, fluent to
      enter the United States.

      NEIL THOMSEN: You arrive at San Francisco. The white people get off
      the ship. You're detained. You're put aboard an Angel Island ferry.

      MOYERS: Angel Island, in San Francisco Bay, unveiled by the Bureau
      of Immigration in 1910. Until the end of Exclusion, these graceful
      buildings, with their palm trees and manicured lawns, were the main
      arrival point for Chinese hoping to enter. Americans dubbed it the
      Ellis Island of the West.

      CONNIE YOUNG YU (Family Historian): Ellis Island was a symbol of
      freedom. It's a wonderful beacon. Angel Island was a symbol of
      detention, of interrogation, and of trauma.

      NEIL THOMSEN: You arrive at Angel Island. You're marched under guard
      to the detention barracks.

      DALE CHING: Armed guards, to march around and follow where you go.
      First stop to the hospital. They want you to take, remove all your
      clothes. And they make sure even though you have no clothes on, they
      put a guard in there.

      MOYERS: Months of preparation came to this: the interrogation.

      ARK CHIN: My admission to America was totally dependent on that. I
      was ten years old and so to be brought into a room for interrogation
      and you see this big Lo Fan, you know, the devil so to speak. And it
      was kind of overpowering.

      BOB CHIN: I really afraid to fail because of, uh, all my parents
      spent all the money.

      SUK WAN LEE: They brought in a huge stack of photos for me to
      identify my "paper" father.

      MOYERS: Suk Wan's real parents had slipped into the U.S. nine years
      earlier. Since they weren't citizens, they could not legally send
      for her. She'd be questioned many times about a family she'd never
      met, a life back in China she'd never led.

      SUK WAN LEE (Interrogation, 1931):

      Q: Where does your family eat their meals?

      A: In the parlor.

      NEIL THOMSEN: These interpreters and the interrogators are very
      sophisticated in their ways.

      THOMSEN: They're putting little `x'es next to these answers and
      these responses. And so the person is flustered.

      SUK WAN LEE (Interrogation, 1931):

      Q: Why are you sure your father was home at the time your mother
      died?

      A: I just remember that he was home.

      Q: We know that the man whom you claim to be your father was in the
      U.S. at the time ... How do you explain your testimony?

      A: You are wrong …

      Q: Are you sure your mother died on September 3, 1925?

      MOYERS: Under scrutiny, Suk Wan's story broke down. She was ordered
      back to China. While her real parents secretly financed her appeal,
      she was held in the women's barracks, crowded with detainees.
      <br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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