Driven out : the forgotten war against Chinese Americans

by Pfaelzer, Jean.

Format: Print Book 2007
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Shaler North Hills Library Non-Fiction 979.4 P
Location  Shaler North Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  979.4 P
The brutal and systematic "ethnic cleansing" of Chinese Americans in California and the Pacific Northwest in the second half of the nineteenth century is a shocking--and virtually unexplored--chapter of American history.Driven Outunearths this forgotten episode in our nation's past. Drawing on years of groundbreaking research, Jean Pfaelzer reveals how, beginning in 1848, lawless citizens and duplicitous politicians purged dozens of communities of thousands of Chinese residents--and how the victims bravely fought back. In town after town, as races and classes were pitted against one another in the raw and anarchistic West, Chinese miners and merchants, lumberjacks and field workers, prostitutes and merchants' wives, were gathered up at gunpoint and marched out of town, sometimes thrown into railroad cars along the very tracks they had built. Here, in vivid detail, are unforgettable incidents such as the torching of the Chinatown in Antioch, California, after Chinese prostitutes were accused of giving seven young men syphilis, and a series of lynchings in Los Angeles bizarrely provoked by a Chinese wedding. From the port of Seattle to the mining towns in California's Siskiyou Mountains to "Nigger Alley" in Los Angeles, the first Chinese Americans were hanged, purged, and banished. Chinatowns across the West were burned to the ground. But the Chinese fought back: They filed the first lawsuits for reparations in the United States, sued for the restoration of their property, prosecuted white vigilantes, demanded the right to own land, and, years before Brown v. Board of Education,won access to public education for their children. Chinese Americans organized strikes and vegetable boycotts in order to starve out towns that tried to expel them. They ordered arms from China and, with Winchester rifles and Colt revolvers, defended themselves. In 1893, more than 100,000 Chinese Americans refused the government's order to wear photo identity cards to prove their legal status--the largest mass civil disobedience in United States history to that point. Driven Outfeatures riveting characters, both heroic and villainous, white and Asian. Charles McGlashen, a newspaper editor, spearheaded a shift in the tactics of persecution, from brutality to legal boycotts of the Chinese, in order to mount a run for governor of California. Fred Bee, a creator of the Pony Express, became the Chinese consul and one of the few attorneys willing to defend the Chinese. Lum May, a dry goods store owner, saw his wife dragged from their home and driven insane. President Grover Cleveland, hoping that China's 400,000 subjects would buy the United States out of its economic crisis, persuaded China to abandon the overseas Chinese in return for a trade treaty. Quen Hing Tong, a merchant, sought an injunction against the city of San Jose in an important precursor to today's suits against racial profiling and police brutality. InDriven Out, Jean Pfaelzer sheds a harsh light on America's past. This is a story of hitherto unknown racial pogroms, purges, roundups, and brutal terror, but also a record of valiant resistance and community. This deeply resonant and eye-opening work documents a significant and disturbing episode in American history.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Pfaelzer, professor of American studies, reveals one of the most disgraceful chapters in American history--the purging of thousands of Chinese immigrants in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain region between 1850 and 1906. Drawing on newspaper accounts, diaries, legal pleadings, and photographs, Pfaelzer retells the story of the horrific purge of the Chinese. Testifying in their own words, Chinese businessmen recall being driven out of their shops, while women tell of being forced into prostitution; they were driven from gold mines, orchards, and small towns in the booming West. The Chinese responded with defenses from boycotts to lawsuits asking for reparations, challenges to police harassment, shipments of arms from China, and pressure on the Chinese government to intervene. Pfaelzer also catalogs the racist images of docile and dirty Chinese subject to lynchings, night raids, murder, expulsion, and deportation. She compares the expulsions to those in Nazi Germany, as well as modern Rwanda and Bosnia, and puts the Driven Out campaign into the broader context of American racism. --Vanessa Bush Copyright 2007 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Additional Information
Subjects Chinese Americans -- California -- History -- 19th century.
Chinese Americans -- Crimes against -- California -- History -- 19th century.
Chinese Americans -- Relocation -- California -- History -- 19th century.
Racism -- California -- History -- 19th century.
Violence -- California -- History -- 19th century.
Forced migration -- California -- History -- 19th century.
Ethnic neighborhoods -- California -- History -- 19th century.
California -- Race relations -- History -- 19th century.
California -- History, Local.
Publisher New York :Random House,2007
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description xxix, 400 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [353]-387) and index.
ISBN 1400061342 (acid-free paper)
9781400061341 (acid-free paper)
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