Kineski rudari masakrirani su na teritoriju Wyominga

Kineski rudari masakrirani su na teritoriju Wyominga


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2. rujna 1885. godine 150 bijelih rudara u Rock Springsu u Wyomingu brutalno je napalo svoje kineske suradnike, ubivši 28, ranivši 15 drugih i otjeravši još nekoliko stotina iz grada.

Rudari koji su radili u rudniku ugljena Union Pacific godinama su se borili za sindikalno udruživanje i štrajk za bolje radne uvjete. No na svakom ih je mjestu moćna željeznička kompanija nadmašila. U potrazi za žrtvenim jarcem, ljuti rudari okrivili su Kineze. Kineski rudari ugljena bili su vrijedni radnici, ali Union Pacific ih je u početku mnoge od njih doveo u Rock Springs kao štrajkbrejkere, a oni nisu pokazali veliko zanimanje za sindikat rudara.

Ogorčeni odlukom tvrtke da kineskim rudarima dopusti da obrađuju najbogatije ugljene slojeve, rulja bijelih rudara impulzivno je odlučila uzvratiti napadom na malu kinesku četvrt Rock Springa. Kad su vidjeli kako se naoružana rulja približava, većina Kineza napustila je svoje domove i poslovne prostore i pobjegla u brda. Ali oni koji nisu uspjeli pobjeći na vrijeme su brutalno pretučeni i ubijeni. Tjedan dana kasnije, 9. rujna, američke trupe otpratile su preživjele Kineze natrag u grad gdje su se mnogi od njih vratili na posao. Na kraju je Union Pacific otpustio 45 bijelih rudara zbog njihove uloge u masakru, ali protiv nikoga od sudionika nikada nisu poduzete učinkovite pravne mjere.

Masakr u Rock Springsu bio je simptom antikineskih osjećaja koje su tada dijelili mnogi Amerikanci. Kinezi su bili žrtve predrasuda i nasilja otkad su prvi put počeli dolaziti na Zapad sredinom devetnaestog stoljeća, bježeći od gladi i političkih previranja. U velikoj mjeri okrivljeni za sve vrste društvenih problema, Kineze su također izdvojili za napade neki nacionalni političari koji su popularizirali oštre parole poput "Kinezi moraju otići" i pomogli u donošenju zakona iz 1882. koji je zatvorio SAD za daljnju kinesku imigraciju. U ovoj klimi rasne mržnje, nasilni napadi na Kineze na Zapadu postali su previše uobičajeni, iako je masakr u Rock Springsu bio značajan i po svojoj veličini i po divljačkoj brutalnosti.

PROČITAJTE JOŠ: Izgradnja transkontinentalne željeznice: kako se to dogodilo 20.000 kineskih imigranata


MASAKR KINEZA.

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyoming, 4. rujna - Pogledom na srijedu s bojišta otkriva se činjenica da su mnogi meci ispaljeni na Kineze u bijegu našli svoj trag. U tinjajućem žeravici na mjestu kineske četvrti pronađeno je 10 ugljenisanih i bezobličnih debla koja su odavala bučan smrad, dok je drugi, koji su dječaci očito izvukli iz pepela, pronađen u blizini četke kadulje. Potraga je rezultirala pronalaskom tijela još pet Kineza, ubijenih hicima iz puške dok su bježali od svojih progonitelja. Svi su stavljeni u borove lijesove i pokopani jučer poslijepodne. Još je nekih šest ili osam pronađeno teško ranjeno, a o njima su se brinuli željeznički službenici. Mrtvozornikova porota donijela je presudu da su muškarci umrli zbog nepoznatih stranaka. Izvještaji duž pruge pokazuju da su Kinezi stigli na male stanice istočno i zapadno odavde, a kažu da je veliki broj bjegunaca ranjen u napadu u srijedu, te da su mnogi poginuli u brdima. Strahuje se da će se otkriti da je najmanje 50 ljudi izgubilo živote kad se sve vrati. Ova nevolja se sprema već mjesecima. Izvođači radova koji upravljaju rudnicima uvozili su Kineze u velikom broju i otpuštali bijelce, sve dok ih više od 600 Nebesa nije zaposlilo. Priča se da su šefovi rudnika favorizirali Kineze na štetu bijelih rudara i da im je trebala samo iskra da zapali plamen. To je bilo namješteno svađom između stranke Nebesa

i bijelci u Rudniku broj 6 zbog prava na rad u određenoj komori. Uslijedila je tučnjava i Kinezi su pogoršani, četvorica su teško ranjena, od kojih je jedan u međuvremenu umro. Bijeli rudari tada su izašli, naoružali se vatrenim oružjem i obavijestili ljude u ostala tri rudnika da izađu popodne. U međuvremenu je u kineskoj četvrti sve bilo uzbuđenje. Zastava je podignuta kao upozorenje, a Kinezi koji su radili u različitim dijelovima kampa pobjegli su u svoje odaje. Nakon večere, saloni su se zatvorili i od tada se više nije prodavalo alkoholno piće. Rudari su se okupili na prvim ulicama, njih oko 100 naoružanih oružjem, revolverima, sjekirama i noževima, te su nastavili prema kineskoj četvrti. Prije nego što su stigli tamo, poslali su tročlani odbor koji je upozorio Kineze da krenu za sat vremena. Na to su se složili i počeli se pakirati, ali za otprilike pola sata bijelci su postali nestrpljivi i napredovali prema kineskim četvrtima, vičući i pucajući iz vatrenog oružja u zrak. Bez pružanja otpora, Kinezi su pobjegli sa svime što su mogli ugrabiti. Pobjegli su u brda oko kilometar istočno od grada, a rudari su na njih pucali dok su bježali. Rudari su zatim zapalili neke kuće, a uskoro je osam ili deset najvećih kuća izgorjelo. Napola ugušeni vatrom i dimom, broj Kineza dojurio je iz zapaljenih zgrada, a s dekama i poplunima iznad glave kako bi se zaštitili od hitaca zalutalih pušaka, najvećom su brzinom krenuli za svojom braćom koja su se povlačila. Sljedeći je put posjećeno praonica rublja u gradu i neozlijeđeni zatvorenici su pucali. Svim zaposlenicima željezničkog odjela za ugljen naređeno je da napuste grad, što su i učinili u večernjem vlaku. Tijekom noći sve su kineske kuće u gradu, kojih je bilo gotovo 50, izgorjele do temelja. Brojni Kinezi koji su se skrivali pobjegli su iz zapaljenih zgrada. Šuška se da će mormonskim rudarima u kampu biti naređeno da izađu, ali ništa u tom smjeru još nije poduzeto. Ovdje su rudari potpuno neorganizirani u križarskom ratu i, iako je veliki broj njih vitezovi rada, taj potez nije učinjen prema njihovim uputama. Rudari nisu radili od nereda. Posao je gotovo u potpunosti obustavljen i sve je tiho.

WASHINGTON, 4. rujna.-Guverner Warren, s teritorija Wyominga, danas je telegrafirao predsjedniku i vojnom tajniku u Washingtonu tražeći pomoć saveznih trupa u suzbijanju poremećaja u Rock Springsu na teritoriju Wyominga uzrokovanih masakr kineskih trudova [sic] od strane rudara.

CHEYENNE Wyoming, 4. rujna - Kineze istjerane iz stjenovitih izvora postepeno preuzimaju vlakovi koji idu na zapad i odvoze ih u Evanston, gdje živi 1000 Kineza. Ovi kineski stanovnici Evanstona spremaju se obraniti i kupiti sve oružje i streljivo na tržištu.

BJELI RUDARI ODLUČNI SU DA OTJERAJU KINESKU.

CHEYENNE, Wyoming, 5. rujna. - Posebna ponuda od Rock Springsa do Vođa daje najnovije podatke koji se mogu dobiti s mjesta nedavnih anti-kineskih nevolja. Danas je sve mirno i rudari su se vratili na posao. Na sinoć održanom sastanku poduzete su mjere kako bi se zaustavilo pijano zbrinjavanje nekolicine njih koji su slavili uklanjanje Kineza. Danas su pronađena još dva mrtva Nebesa, jedan u ruševinama kineske četvrti, a drugi ispod željezničkog mosta oko kilometar istočno od mjesta. Potonji je bio ranjen i uspio je hodati toliko daleko prije nego što je odustao. Rudari koji su aktivno sudjelovali u napadu na kinesku četvrt kažu da je do sada pronađeno manje od jedne trećine poginulih Kineza u ruševinama kuća. Izjavljuju da je najmanje 25 oboreno u spaljenim zgradama. Ove su zgrade imale zemljane krovove koji su prekrivali mrtve Kineze kada su stanovi podlegli plamenu, a u ruševinama nije izvršena nikakva stvarna potraga. Vrlo je vjerojatno da su izjave rudara istinite. Kinezi i dalje stižu na postaje istočno i zapadno, gotovo mrtvi od straha i slabi od umora i nedostatka hrane. Sve ih tvrtka otprema u Evanston. Ponavljaju izjavu da su mnogi umrli u brdima od rana zadobijenih u napadu na njih. Izvješćuje se da su bijeli rudari u Almyju, na zapadnom kraju teritorija, obavijestili kineske radnike u rudnicima da moraju napustiti u roku od tri dana, a kaže se da je Union Pacific Company jamčila njihovo uklanjanje u roku specificirano. Nebesi su duž cijele ceste odbijali raditi danas i zahtijevali su propusnice za Evanston. Kineskim vešernjacima i slugama u Green Riveru sinoć je rečeno da moraju otići u roku od 12 sati, a današnjim ekspresom će krenuti na zapad.


Masakr u Rock Springsu

2. rujna 1885. rudari bijelog ugljena u Rock Springsu na teritoriju Wyominga napali su kinesku četvrt, dio grada u kojem su živjeli kineski rudari ugljena. Iako je stotine Kineza pobjeglo, bijeli izgrednici ubili su 28 ljudi dok su palili i pljačkali kuće i trgovine. Svi rudari radili su u rudnicima u vlasništvu Union Pacific Railroad.

Što je bijele rudare natjeralo na ovu vrstu nasilja? Što su, ako išta, Kinezi učinili da ih naljute?

Kinezi su bili u Americi barem od kalifornijske zlatne groznice 1849. godine. Prihvatili su niže plaće u usporedbi s onim što bi prihvatili bijeli rudari. To je svima smanjilo plaće, a bijeli radnici su to zamjerili. Početkom 1870 -ih, bijeli radnici u San Franciscu i Los Angelesu prijetili su kineskim radnicima, a u Los Angelesu su bijelci ubili 23 kineska radnika. Protiv ubojica nikada nije podignuta optužnica.

Tijekom izgradnje transkontinentalne pruge, veliki broj kineskih radnika radio je za željeznicu Central Pacific, gradeći je od Kalifornije na zapadu prema istoku kako bi se sastali s tračnicama Union Pacific u Utahu 1869. Kasnije su mnogi Kinezi u Wyomingu radili u rudnici Union Pacific u željezničkim gradovima kao što su Rock Springs, Evanston i drugi. Tijekom 1870 -ih, štrajkovi bijelih rudara u Wyomingu natjerali su tvrtku da zaposli više kineskih rudara, što je samo povećalo ljutnju bijelih rudara jer je tvrtka izigravala različite grupe rudara jedni protiv drugih.

Na dan napada 1885. šerif okruga Sweetwater saznao je za nasilje oko sat vremena nakon što je počelo. Išao je posebnim vlakom do Rock Springsa, ali nije mogao pronaći nikoga tko bi mu se pridružio.

Teritorijalni guverner Francis E. Warren otputovao je u Rock Springs. Kako bi pokazao da se ne boji i kako bi smirio bijele rudare, nekoliko je puta napustio svoj željeznički vagon i napravio šetnju naprijed -natrag po platformi skladišta.

Warren je također telegrafski poslao predsjednika Grovera Clevelanda tražeći od vojnika da uspostave red budući da Wyoming nije imao teritorijalne milicije. Na njegov prijedlog, tvrtka je poslala spor vlak 15 milja od Rock Springsa do Green Rivera kako bi spasila razbacane Kineze i dala im hranu, vodu i deke. U međuvremenu je šerif okruga Uinta u Evanstonu postao nervozan zbog situacije u svom području. Warren nije mogao učiniti ništa drugo nego otputovati u Evanston kako bi smirio stvari.

Do tada je većina Kineza bila željna izlaska iz Wyominga jer je većina iz Rock Springsa završila u Evanstonu nakon nasilja. Njihov vođa, Ah Say, zatražio je od Union Pacific -a željezničke karte i za dva mjeseca zaostale plate tvrtka im je dugovala. Tvrtka je odbila oba zahtjeva.

Gotovo tjedan dana nakon ubojstava, trupe su stigle u Rock Springs i Evanston. Stražari satnije otpratili su oko 600 Kineza, zatim u Evanstonu, u kolica za koja se pretpostavljalo da putuju za San Francisco. Nije bila istina da je vlak doplovio do Rock Springsa, a Warren i visoki dužnosnici tvrtke bili su u automobilu straga.

Nazad u Rock Springsu, tvrtka je i dalje odbijala Kineze bilo kakvu propusnicu za Kaliforniju ili zaostalu plaću. Bijeli rudari nastavili su ih uznemiravati. Tvrtka im je odbijala prodavati hranu, prijetila im je izbacivanjem iz privremenih kuća s vagonima, a na kraju je zaprijetila da će otpustiti i staviti na crnu listu sve Kineze koji se nisu vratili na posao do 21. rujna. Oko 60 Kineza napustilo je ostale koji su se vratili na posao.

Šesnaest bijelih rudara uhićeno je zbog pobuna, razaranja i ubojstava, ali nitko nije optužen jer nijedan svjedok nije htio svjedočiti. Službeno je stradalo 28 Kineza, 15 je ranjeno, a svih 79 zgrada kineske četvrti opljačkano je i spaljeno.

Uloga guvernera Warrena u ovom debaklu bila je mješovita. Iako je uspio smiriti atmosferu, čime je spriječio daljnje nasilje, pomogao je Kinezima da prevare da se vrate u Rock Springs te je odbio intervenirati po pitanju njihove zaostale plaće.

U konačnici, Union Pacific Company dobila je ono što je htjela: nastavak niske plaće za sve rudare - i stalnu opskrbu ugljena za vlakove.

Okomite datoteke

Američki centar za naslijeđe sadrži okomite datoteke koje pružaju vrijedne istraživačke materijale o temama i ljudima. Svaka okomita datoteka sadrži stavke kao što su isječci vijesti, knjižice, fotografije, pamfleti, izvješća i drugo. Materijali su obično labavi, zasebni dijelovi organizirani u mape i poredani po temama. Naziv potječe od načina skladištenja: okomito u ormarićima. Okomite datoteke prikazane ovdje odnose se na masakr u Rock Springsu i na kinesko iskustvo u Wyomingu.

Francis E. Warren

Republikanac Francis E. Warren (1844-1929) dobio je imenovanje za teritorijalnog guvernera Wyominga u veljači 1885. Nije bio nov u politici. Bio je gradonačelnik Cheyennea, član teritorijalnog senata i teritorijalni rizničar. Također je brzo napredovao do uspješnog poslovnog položaja u Wyomingu, stekavši kontrolu nad velikim površinama zemlje i važan glas u svemoćnoj Udruzi uzgajivača stoke Wyoming. Bez obzira na njegovu važnost, kada je demokrata Grover Cleveland preuzeo dužnost SAD -a

Andrew P. Bugas

Izjava očevidaca od 16. travnja 1933. o masakru u Rock Springsu od strane Andrewa P. Bugasa. Rođen je u Austriji 1866. Pridružio se ocu kako bi radio u rudnicima ugljena u Pennsylvaniji. 1885. došao je u Rock Springs gdje je tri i pol godine radio u rudniku broj 1. Kasnije u životu se oženio, vodio salon i služio u zakonodavnom tijelu Wyominga.

W.B.D. i Annette Grey

William Bradford Dodge Gray bio je upravitelj Kongregacijskih misija u Wyomingu od 1900. do 1918. Rođen je u Milbourneu, Illinois, 1846. 1902. W.B.D Gray oženio se s Annette Becher. Zaređena je u Cheyenneu, Wyoming, u prosincu 1900. godine, te je postala župnikom u Sabornoj crkvi South Side u Cheyenneu. Par je kao misionar mnogo putovao kroz Wyoming. Prikupljali su novac za svoj misionarski rad slajd predavanjima održanim publici na istoku o uvjetima u Wyomingu.

Grace Raymond Hebard

Grace Raymond Hebard (1861-1936) radila je kao profesorica i knjižničarka na Sveučilištu u Wyomingu. Istraživala je povijest američkog Zapada i zanimala se za Oregonsku stazu i život Indijanaca. Osim uspjeha u akademskim krugovima, bila je prva žena koja se bavila odvjetništvom u državi Wyoming te je na kraju imenovala prvu potpredsjednicu Nacionalnog društva pravnica. Njezini radovi uključuju njezinu prepisku, spomenare, rukopise i prijepise, između ostalih.


Što se dogodilo u masakru u Rock Springsu?

Pucnji su odjeknuli 2. rujna 1885. popodne u popodnevnim satima u Rock Springsu, na području Wyominga. Dom stotinama kineskih rudara ugljena koji su došli u SAD na posao, kineska četvrt u naselju suočila se s predstojećim krvoprolićem. Nakon jutarnjeg nasilja nad kineskim radnicima u jednom od obližnjih rudnika, više od stotinu bijelaca naoružanih oružjem i drugim oružjem opkolilo je susjedstvo.

Napetosti između kineskih i rudara bijelog ugljena u Rock Springsu dugo su rasle. Bijeli rudari, organizirani pod Sindikatom vitezova rada, nastojali su poboljšati uvjete radnika sindikalnim udruživanjem i štrajkom protiv divovske unije Union Pacific Railroad Company. Siti prijedloga tvrtke za smanjenje plaća i zahtjeva da rudari kupuju potrepštine u njezinim preskupim trgovinama, Vitezovi rada zahtijevali su pregovore s poslodavcima rudara. Sindikat je predstavljao volju potlačenih radnika, ali je predstavljao i rasističko raspoloženje: Vitezovi rada tvrdili su da je veliki dio rudarskih problema uzrokovan prilivom kineskih imigranata koji su spremni raditi za manje plaće od bijelaca radnici. Kad su kineski radnici u Rock Springsu odbili štrajk s bijelim rudarima, napetosti među skupinama dosegle su prijelomnu točku. Nakon što su se iz rudnika vratili svojim kućama kako bi donijeli oružje, bijelci, kao i žene, tog rujna popodne upali su u kinesku četvrt. Njihov nasilni križarski rat, sada poznat kao masakr u Rock Springsu, rezultirao je smrću 28 Kineza i ranjavanjem 15, čineći ga jednim od najkrvavijih rasno motiviranih masakra nad kineskim imigrantima u Americi.

Ono što se dogodilo u Rock Springsu bilo je simptomatično za mnogo širi rasistički osjećaj u to vrijeme u Sjedinjenim Državama. Anti-kineski stavovi postojali su od dolaska prvih velikih valova kineskih radnika u Sjevernu Ameriku za izgradnju transkontinentalne željeznice. Takvi su radnici predstavljali relativno jeftin izvor radne snage voljni raditi u opasnim uvjetima, pa su ubrzo zamijenili mnoge svoje bijele kolege. Zapravo, vjeruje se da rasistički izraz "nema šanse Kineza" proizlazi iz opasnih radnih uvjeta u kojima su se kineski radnici obično našli, poput spuštanja uz litice radi eksplozije eksploziva. Porast kineskih radnika izazvao je nezadovoljstvo među bijelim Amerikancima, koji su se zalagali za diskriminatorno zakonodavstvo, poput kalifornijskog takozvanog Anti-Coolie zakona iz 1862., koji je od kineskih imigranata zahtijevao plaćanje mjesečnog poreza kako bi mogli raditi u državi. Rasistički osjećaji pojačali su se kada je dovršena transkontinentalna željeznica i kineski imigranti počeli zapošljavati u drugim industrijama, poput rudarstva ugljena. Na vrhuncu animoziteta bijelih Amerikanaca prema kineskim imigrantima, Kongres SAD -a donio je Kineski zakon o isključenju iz 1882. Zabranio je kineskim radnicima ulazak u Sjedinjene Američke Države, što ga je učinilo prvim saveznim zakonom u zemlji koji je obustavio useljavanje na temelju određene nacionalnosti .

Štoviše, sustavna diskriminacija kineskih imigranata onemogućila im je pronalaženje pravde u američkom pravnom sustavu. Nakon masakra u Rock Springsu nitko od bijelih agresora nije optužen za zločin jer protiv njih nisu svjedočili svjedoci. Kineski rudari koji su izbjegli masakr preselili su se privremeno u Evanston i zahtijevali zaostalu plaću i željezničke karte da napuste teritorij Wyominga. Iako im je kasnije Kongres nadoknadio gubitke, rudarima nikada nisu udovoljena njihova dva zahtjeva. Nakon što im je rečeno da će ih vlak odvesti do San Francisca, saznali su da su ih lagali: umjesto toga, vlak ih je odvezao natrag u Rock Springs, gdje se uprava Union Pacific nadala da će nastaviti s radom u rudnicima.

Iako je vijest o masakru u Rock Springsu navela mnoge u Sjedinjenim Državama da osude postupke bijelaca u gradu, nadahnula je i nasilne anti-kineske demonstracije drugdje. Ohrabreni onim što se dogodilo u Rock Springsu, bijeli radnici diljem Zapadne obale počeli su nasilno istjerivati ​​kineske imigrante iz zajednica.

Kroz američku povijest, azijski Amerikanci i azijski imigranti suočavali su se s polariziranim reakcijama bijelih Amerikanaca. U početku su ih korporacije u 19. stoljeću favorizirale zbog pružanja jeftine radne snage, kineski radnici su ubijeni kada su postali konkurencija bijelim radnicima. Do kraja 20. stoljeća, međutim, Azijski Amerikanci postali su lice "uzorne manjine" - problematične percepcije da su marginalizacijom prevladali teškim radom - ipak se taj pomak dogodio nedugo nakon što su japanski Amerikanci stavljeni u logore za interniranje, unatoč kao američki državljani, tijekom Drugog svjetskog rata. Ono što je potaknulo takve reakcije je rasizam - uvjerenje među bijelim Amerikancima da su obojeni ljudi inferiorni i da ih se prema tome treba tretirati. Rasizam je azijske Amerikance i druge stavio na milost i nemilost bijelim mafijašima, bilo da je to oblik ismijavanja naglaska, glasovanja za diskriminatorno savezno zakonodavstvo ili ubijanja radnika u rudnicima pokušavajući iskorijeniti cijelo susjedstvo.


Sjećanje Wyominga oživjelo je pokolj kineskih rudarskih radnika prije jednog stoljeća

Prije jednog stoljeća na površinu se proširila borba biranjem i lopatom između bijelih i kineskih radnika u podzemnom rudniku ugljena u Rock Springsu.

U narednim satima bijelci su ubili najmanje 28 Kineza, pljačkali i palili kuće u azijskoj zajednici Rock Springsa.

Danas u ovom jugozapadnom gradu Wyomingu od 20.000 stanovnika živi samo nekoliko kineskih obitelji. Nema spomena na ono što je postalo poznato kao kineski masakr u Rocky Springsu, nema dokaza o onome što su tadašnje novine izvještavale o "žurnom izlasku Johna Chinamana" i spaljivanju "Hong Konga".

Ne postoji čak ni groblje za žrtve masakra, očito zato što su sva tijela kremirana i pepeo vraćen u Kinu. Bijelci u to vrijeme općenito nisu dopuštali da se Azijci pokapaju na bijelim grobljima.

Oko 600 preživjelih pobjeglo je pješice istočno i zapadno odavde duž pruga Union Pacific. Sa sobom su nosili svu hranu, odjeću i dragocjenosti koje su uspjeli oteti iz svojih opkoljenih domova.

Vojnici su hitno prebačeni u Rock Springs s graničnih postaja Camp Murray na teritoriju Utah i Ft. Steele na teritoriju Wyominga. Osnovali su Camp Pilot Butte u Rock Springsu. Vojnici su ostali 13 godina, do Španjolsko-američkog rata.

Četrnaest rudara uhićeno je u danima nakon masakra, ali nitko nije osuđen za zločin.

Pokolj je možda i pao u zaborav da dva mlada povjesničara sa Western Wyoming Collegea nisu krenula oživjeti njegovo sjećanje.

Povjesničar osoblja A. Dudley Gardner i instruktor povijesti Chris Plant, koji je na Praznik rada na fakultetu održao svečanost povodom 100. godišnjice, prikupili su više od 5000 dolara za postavljanje ploče u gradskom parku. Kineski veleposlanik pozvan je na ceremoniju posvete koja će se održati po njegovoj želji.

Plant, podrijetlom iz Rochestera, N.Y., rekao je da će na ploči biti napisano:

“Ovaj nered izazvala je desetljetna namjerna politika kompanije koja je uvozila kineske rudare kako bi smanjila plaće, prekinula štrajkove i neutralizirala napore na organiziranju sindikata.

"Poticanje na nasilje i okrutnost bio je nasilan rasizam u cijeloj zemlji koji je Kineze smatrao spremnim robovima i moralno degeneriranima."

Ploča bi mogla pomoći u ponovnom sjećanju na tragični događaj. Nedavno je 20 ljudi nasumično zaustavljeno na ulicama Rock Springsa, a nitko nije čuo za kineski masakr u Rock Springsu.

Na ceremoniju Praznika rada, Plant i Gardner također su pozvali tajvanskog veleposlanika. U pisanom odgovoru u ime veleposlanika Han Xua, poslanom s vijencem cvijeća, rečeno je da Tajvan neće moći poslati predstavnika, ali je dodano: „Vjerujem da je sastanak. . . bit će značajna. Pregled prošlosti će nas natjerati da više cijenimo napredujući odnos koji je u tijeku između Kine i Sjedinjenih Država. ”

Krajem 1800 -ih, tisuće Kineza dovedeno je u Sjedinjene Države kako bi im služilo kao jeftina radna snaga. Zahtjevi za zaustavljanje useljavanja porasli su u zapadnim državama jer je broj Kineza dosegao jednog od 11 stanovnika u Kaliforniji 1880.

Kongres je na to odgovorio donošenjem Zakona iz 1882., poznatog kao kineski zakon o isključenju. To je zaustavilo kinesku imigraciju na 10 godina.

Taj čin nije umanjio ozlojeđenost prema Kinezima na Zapadu, a sporadično nasilje se nastavilo.

U svojoj knjizi "Masakr u Rock Springsu 1885", Dell Isham je napisao da je nasilje koristilo "političkim demagozima i frustriranim organizatorima rada".

“Extra” izdanje časopisa Rock Springs Independent od 11. rujna 1885.-objavljeno devet dana nakon masakra-opisuje mržnju prema Kinezima koja je rasla u mjesecima prije masakra.

Urednik Norman Dresser napisao je u članku pod naslovom “Istinska priča o kineskom egzodusu”: “Osjećaj protiv njih jačao je cijelo ljeto. Činjenica da su bijelci bili isključeni s (mojih) dionica, a stotine bijelaca uzaludno tražilo posao, dok su Kineze dopremali kola i davali im posao, pojačalo je osjećaj protiv njih.

"Trebalo je samo malo da potakne ovaj osjećaj u aktivan križarski rat protiv njih, a to je malo došlo u srijedu ujutro (2. rujna) u 6", napisao je Dresser.

Tog su se jutra neki kineski rudari javili na posao kako bi pronašli bijele rudare u podzemnoj prostoriji za koju su mislili da im je dodijeljena. Union Pacific Coal Co. držao je bijele i kineske rudare u odvojenim prostorijama u nastojanju da izbjegnu nasilje.

“Uslijedile su visoke riječi, a zatim i udarci. Uletjeli su Kinezi iz drugih prostorija, kao i bijelci, a uslijedila je tučnjava sa trzalicama, lopatama, vježbama i (nabijanjem) igala za oružje ”, rekao je Independent.

"Kinezi su teško pogođeni, četvorica su teško ranjena, od kojih je jedan u međuvremenu umro", navodi se u članku.

Računi govore da se oko 100 bijelih rudara i promatrača okupilo ljutito raspoloženo. Vlasnici barova, osjećajući nevolje pred sobom, zatvorili su svoje konobe. Dok je rulja marširala prema kineskoj četvrti, trgovine su se zatvarale kako bi svi mogli gledati egzodus Kineza.

Mafija je isprva dala Kinezima jedan sat vremena za evakuaciju, ali je potom postala nemirna. Neki su vikali da se Kinezi naoružavaju i spremaju se za stav.

Rulja je jurnula naprijed. Računi kažu da su najmanje dvije žene bile u prvim redovima kad su pucali i baklje bacale na kineske domove.

Neki su Kinezi potražili sklonište u svojim podrumima i spaljeni su do smrti. Drugi su pobjegli, mnogi od njih bosi.

Nezavisni izvještaj kaže: "Pobjegli su poput stada uplašenih ovaca, koprcajući se i prevrćući se niz strme obale Bitter Creeka, zatim kroz kadulju, preko pruge i u brda istočno od Burning Mountain."

Gomila je tada provalila kroz vrata rublja Ah Leeja i nastala je tučnjava. Novinar je napisao da je "mrtvi Kinez viđen na podu s krvlju i mozgom kako curi iz strašne rane na potiljku".

Izdanje Extra navodi da je šerif Joe Young te večeri došao iz Green Rivera, 15 milja zapadno od Rock Springsa, ali nije mogao pronaći volontere koji bi pomogli u uspostavljanju reda.

"Cijelu noć čuo se zvuk puške i revolvera, a okolna brda bila su osvijetljena sjajem zapaljenih kuća", objavio je Independent.

Red je uspostavljen kad su vojnici stigli. Do 21. rujna oko 100 Kineza je nastavilo s radom.

Independent je bio ogorčen objavljenim izvješćima i uvodnicima o masakru u New York Timesu i drugim istočnim novinama.

"Obavijestili bismo Times", napisao je Dresser, "kad su ljudi slomljeni, kad im je povrijeđen osjećaj za pravo i pravdu, ustat će i prosvjedovati. A ako ih nagomilana dugogodišnja pogoršanja dovedu u krajnosti, krivnja je također na njihovim poslodavcima, koji su toliko uporno ignorirali njihove pritužbe da su muškarci odustali od svake nade u naknadu, osim vlastitim djelovanjem. ”

Dresser je dodao: „Kinezi moraju otići. Zašto, čak i sami vojnici proklinju dužnost koja ih tjera da održe izvanzemaljca protiv Amerikanaca. ”

Kineska vlada protestirala je nad masakrom i čak je poslala predstavnike na teritorij Wyominga da istraže.

Iako ne preuzima nikakvu pravnu odgovornost, Kongres je Kini na kraju odobrio odštetu od 147.748,74 USD. Henry Chadey, ravnatelj Povijesnog muzeja okruga Sweetwater, vjeruje da je novac korišten za stipendiranje kineskih studenata u Sjedinjenim Državama.


Zaboravljena povijest kampanje za istjerivanje Kineza iz Amerike

Gum Shan. Zlatna planina. Tako su ljudi u provinciji Guangdong nazivali daleku zemlju u kojoj je domaće stanovništvo imalo crvenu kosu i plave oči, a pričalo se da se zlatni grumeni mogu iščupati sa zemlje. Prema izvještaju u San Franciscu Kronika, trgovac u posjetu iz kantona, glavnog grada provincije - vjerojatno ubrzo nakon otkrića zlata u Sutter Creeku, 1848. - pisao je prijatelju kod kuće o bogatstvu koje je pronašao u planinama Kalifornije. Prijatelj je rekao drugima i sam je krenuo preko Tihog oceana. Bilo iz trgovačkog pisma, ili s brodova koji su stigli u Hong Kong, vijest o zlatnoj groznici Kalifornije zahvatila je južnu Kinu. Muškarci su počeli skupljati sredstva, često su koristili zemljište svoje obitelji kao zalog za zajmove i gomilali se na brodove kojima je trebalo čak tri mjeseca da stignu do Amerike. Na kraju su stigli u tisućama. Neki su došli u potrazi za zlatom, drugi su bili privučeni unosnim plaćama koje su mogli zaraditi radeći za željezničke tvrtke koje su postavljale kolosijeke kako bi se pridružile istočnoj i zapadnoj polovici Sjedinjenih Država, dok su drugi radili u tvornicama koje proizvode cigare, papuče i vunu, ili pronašao druge mogućnosti na američkom Zapadu. Uglavnom su to bili seljaci, koji su često putovali u velikim grupama iz istog sela. Nosili su tradicionalnu mušku frizuru iz dinastije Qing, obrijanu paštetu sprijeda i pletenicu do pojasa straga. Bježali su iz domovine zahvaćene nasilnim pobunama i ekonomskim oskudicama. Došli su tražeći ogromne, otvorene prostore američke granice - gdje su, vjerovali su, čekali sloboda i mogućnosti.

Kako je kineska prisutnost rasla, počela je uzburkati tjeskobu bijelih Amerikanaca. Uslijedilo je nasilje, često šokantno svojom brutalnošću. Amerika je sredinom devetnaestog stoljeća bila u epskoj borbi za rasu. Građanski rat, prema posljednjim procjenama, ostavio je tri četvrtine milijuna mrtvih. U burnim godinama obnove koje su uslijedile, najmanje je dvije tisuće crnaca linčano. Međutim, u ovom odlučujućem razdoblju američke povijesti uvelike je zaboravljen virulentni rasizam koji su kineski imigranti preživjeli s druge strane zemlje. Prema “The Chinese Must Go” (2018.), detaljnom pregledu Beth Lew-Williams, profesorice povijesti na Princetonu, sredinom osamnaest osamdesetih, tijekom vjerojatno vrhunca budnosti, najmanje sto šezdeset osam zajednice su prisilile svoje kineske stanovnike da odu. U jednoj posebno užasnoj epizodi, 1885., bijeli rudari u Rock Springsu, na teritoriju Wyominga, masakrirali su najmanje dvadeset i osam kineskih rudara i istjerali još nekoliko stotina drugih.

Today, there are more than twenty-two million people of Asian descent in the United States, and Asians are projected to be the largest immigrant group in the nation by 2055. Asian-Americans have been stereotyped as the model minority, yet no other ethnic or racial group experiences greater income inequality––or perhaps feels more invisible. Then came the Presidency of Donald Trump, his racist sneers about “kung flu” and the “China virus,” and the wave of anti-Asian attacks that has swept the country.

The attacks have produced a remarkable outpouring of emotion and energy from the Asian-American community and beyond. But it is unclear what will become of the fervor once the sense of emergency dissipates. Asian-Americans do not fit easily into the narrative of race in America. Evaluating .


History of Violence in the Chinese Community

Violence towards the AAPI community isn’t something new. A few weeks ago, members of the Chinese community gathered and rallied in protest of anti-Asian violence and racism in response to the shootings in Georgia and in response to the harmful language aimed towards members of the community. As an Asian American, it's heartbreaking--and that's putting it lightly--to constantly hear about the attacks that have been happening since last year. With increased news coverage on the AAPI community, I think that that it's important to know that this has happened before.

There are three famous incidents that I know of that is significant to Chinese American history:

  1. Rock Springs Massacre in 1885.
  2. Chinese Massacre in 1871
  3. The murder of Vincent Chin

The Rock Springs Massacre in 1885: White coal miners in Wyoming, protest their employers hiring Chinese laborers because it would be cheaper for them to do so, then attack them which results in 28 Chinese people being killed, 15 injured¹.

Chinese Massacre in 1871: With the death of a community member during a shootout between a group of Chinese people, around 500 mobsters dragged the people who were involved in the altercation and hung them--killing 17 Chinese people, 10% of the Chinese population in LA at that time was wiped out in a single day².

The murder of Vincent Chin-- Vincent Chin, who was mistaken for a Japanese man, was killed by two auto workers who had blamed him for losing their jobs in the automotive industry³. There is so so much that had happened during and after the court case that can be better explained by reading the article below.

I bring up these three incidents to highlight the similarities between what happened then and now: all three cases of violence stemmed from racism and xenophobia which is then further amplified when demagogues are given a soapbox to make derogatory comments much akin to what’s been happening in the past year. Much of this is new to the people outside of the AAPI community, but for people like me, this is something that has been going on for all of my life and I feel like it’s something that has been overlooked time after time. I believe that making a difference, being an anti-racist, starts with listening to what people have to say: every community has their story and it’s vital for all of us to make an effort to educate ourselves on what’s going on and to take what they have to say seriously. Instead of offering solutions that you think are helpful, listen to what community members have to say.


City of Rock Springs, Wyoming

The Chinese Massacre Memorial located on the corners of M Street, Bridger Avenue and Pilot Butte Avenue, across from the Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church.

Books about the 1885 Chinese Massacre:

Chadey, Henry F. The Chinese Story and Rock Springs, Wyoming. 1984.

Isham, Dell. Rock Springs Massacre, 1885. 1969.

McAuliffe, Eugene. Povijest of the Union Pacific Coal Mines 1868 to 1940. Reprinted 1977.

Rhode, Robert B. Booms & Busts on Bitter Creek: A History of Rock Springs, Wyoming. 1987.

Storti, Craig. Incident at Bitter Creek: The story of the Rock Springs Chinese Massacre. 1991.

Wilson, Arlen Ray. The Rock Springs, Wyoming Chinese Massacre, 1885. 1967.

Fiction books that include the 1885 Chinese Massacre:

Leung, Brian. Take Me Home: a novel. 2011.

Yep, Laurence. The Traitor: Golden Mountain Chronicles: 1885 (Golden Mountain Chronicles). 2003.

Dodatna sredstva:

The Modern West Podcast. Immigrations, Interrupted: Ghost Town(ing) Part 9. 27 January 2021. Wyoming Public Media. The Modern West Podcast - The Modern West

O&rsquoGara, Geoff. Chinese Massacre. Video recording. 1994.

Thomas, D.G. as told to daughter Mrs. J.H. Goodnough. Chinese Riot. 1931.

Header Image from Harper's Weekly, Vol. 29, 1885 riot and massacre of Chinese-American coal miners, by white miners.


Riches for Chinese Miners Following their Intermountain West trail from Boise, Idaho, to Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Following their Intermountain West trail from Boise, Idaho, to Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Chinese laborers played a prominent role in the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad, and they were equally instrumental in mining operations throughout the Intermountain West. Gold mining in Idaho’s Boise Basin started in 1862 upon the discoveries of prospecting parties led by D.H. Fogus, George Grimes and Moses Splawn, and miners flocked to the region. The population exploded. By 1863 four cities had sprung up: Idaho City, Centerville, Placerville and Pioneer, with a combined population of nearly 15,000.

In the early years, only a few Chinese workers were in the region, most of them finding work as cooks. People and supplies came into Boise Basin over a series of rough roads leading in from the south and the Owyhee country, as well as from the west, where they traveled by steamboat up the Columbia to jumping off points such as Wallula and Umatilla, or they came overland through the Baker Valley and along the Payette River to follow Harris Creek and then cross the divide into Boise Basin.

Gold miners took advantage of the rich lode, combing the hills and pulling significant gold from the area. By the time the Central Pacific joined with the Union Pacific in May 1869, many of the Boise Basin mining claims were already heavily worked. The railroad meant that goods could be transported by train to Winnemucca, Nevada, and then hauled overland north to Idaho City, Idaho, and other Boise Basin towns. In spite of the availability of goods, the miners had already begun to move on to new diggings. The 1870 census showed 2,158 residents in the same four cities that had populations of more than 15,000 just seven years earlier.

The population had shifted not just downward but also ethnically. By 1870 the region’s population was almost half comprised of Chinese. They moved in to the basin to take advantage of the gold still remaining, as they would work claims other miners had already abandoned. Kao što je Idaho World, Idaho City’s newspaper, reported, by early October 1865, “between fifty and sixty Chinamen are reported to be at work on claims lately purchased by them on More’s creek, below the tollgate. This is the first gang, we believe, which has ventured into that line of business in this portion of the country.”

Many of them engaged in other opportunities: they had laundries and stores. The early laundry operations of men such as Quong Hing, Sam Lee, Hop Ching, Fan Hop and Song Lee gave way to other businesses as increasing numbers of Chinese entered the region. The Chinese merchants imported goods for market in the camps. Those who were more prosperous bought the older placer claims then put Chinese laborers to work at them. This re-working of the mines angered many “who thought the mines ought to be worked by white miners,” according to the World. But the white miners had moved on to other locations where they believed they would make more money, and the Chinese miners were satisfied with a dollar or two in profit from a day’s digging.

First Diggings in Idaho City

To reach the Boise Basin town of Idaho City, you should travel along Highway 21, north out of Boise, on a route that at one time had been in use by freighters hauling supplies to the mining camp.

A good place to begin exploring Idaho City is at the Boise Basin Historical Museum, a building that formerly served as the town’s post office. There you will get a good overview of the area’s development on certain days you may have an opportunity to visit the Pon Yam House, built in 1865, which served as the store of one of the more prominent Chinese businessmen in Idaho City. This building is in the process of being renovated as a location to better tell the Chinese history of this area. The Idaho World newspaper office also still remains in Idaho City. It is a building first used as a Chinese store.

Idaho City is but one of the mining towns that attracted the Chinese workers in the 19th century, but few of those workers remained—not even in the cemetery. Although the pioneer graveyard had a Chinese section, when the Chinese left, they disinterred the bodies and returned them to the homeland.

Not far from Idaho City is the now sleepy little town of Placerville, which has its Henrietta Penrod Museum—housed in the former Magnolia Saloon—offering a collection of Chinese china, fans, shoes and silk items.

Headin’ North to Polly Bemis Country

Like the miners who started working gold claims in the Boise Basin, you should leave the region and travel to Cottonwood for a visit to the Monastery of St. Gertrude. This private museum has an impressive collection of Chinese artifacts from the mining era in Idaho. These include a sunbonnet, three dresses, a brown shawl, jewelry, photographs and items crocheted by one of the most famous Chinese women in the West.

Better known as Polly Bemis, Lalu Nathoy was born in China in 1853 and sold by her father as a female slave in America. Later sold for $2,500, she arrived in Warren, Idaho, where she endured a harsh life. Charlie Bemis ultimately won her in a card game with Hog King, who then owned her. The girl worked for Bemis, and the two of them later married and relocated to a small farm along the Salmon River known as the Bemis place, or more commonly Polly Place. Polly spent much of the rest of her life there. After Charlie died from burns received in a fire at their home, she remained at the farm until her latter years when she spent time in Grangeville and Cottonwood.

Each year the museum at the monastery also hosts a symposium related to the Chinese in Idaho. The event includes history presentations and often offers tours to sites important in the Chinese mining story, such as Chinese Massacre Cove in Hells Canyon (site where a gang of white men robbed and murdered 31 Chinese men in 1887). This year’s event will be held June 23 and 24.

Although not connected to the mining era, the Rhoades Emmanuel Memorial at the Monastery Museum is a stunning collection of exquisite Asian and European artifacts, with the majority of the items from China, some dating from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Montana’s Gold is Callin’

Gold strikes at Alder Gulch in Montana Territory drew miners from Idaho. You should head that direction too, traveling over Lolo Pass to Missoula, where you can follow I-90 to Butte and its World Museum of Mining. The museum showcases original equipment at the Orphan Girl Mine and extensive exhibits that give you a chance to see and, in some cases, handle equipment. Dozens of original and replica buildings are a part of “Hell Roaring Gulch,” including a Chinese laundry.

Even more original buildings from the mining era, and representing Chinese workers, are part of Nevada City in southwest Montana. Relocated to the area, these structures include three stores—set up with displays of tea, household goods, food, baskets and coolie hats—one laundry and other small buildings. The Chinese continued to live in both Nevada City and nearby Virginia City after the 1864 gold strikes.

Both Nevada City and Virginia City give you a chance not only to learn about the mining and cultural history of the area but also to actually experience it for yourself. You can pan for gold in Nevada City and, on weekends and some other times during the summer, you can meet “historical” characters who help bring the historic district to life. Virginia City offers visitors a melodrama, a theatrical performance or music—Country or perhaps Blues—at the Bale of Hay Saloon. Plus, you can get outfitted at Rank’s Mercantile, established in 1864, and shop at other businesses that offer 19th-century style of goods.

Just as Chinese workers who helped construct the Central Pacific Railway eventually found jobs working in
mining operations in the Boise Basin, so did those who found work on the Union Pacific find opportunity in end-of-tracks towns along that rail line. Evanston, Wyoming, last stop for the UP in Wyoming territory, had a large Chinese population.

A joss house has been rebuilt in Evanston as part of the Uinta County Museum. Within the building is a large collection of Chinese artifacts, including both an original and a replica Chinese dragon used during Chinese New Year’s parades (one is held every year in Evanston). You can also see a replica of the Chinatown, plus artifacts uncovered during archaeological excavations.

From Evanston, continue east on I-80 to reach your final stop on this trail of Chinese mining in the Intermountain West.

A Chinese Mining Riot

The first coal mining along the Union Pacific Railroad took place at Carbon, but extensive mining was soon underway in the area of Rock Springs. Like the incident that occurred at Massacre Cove along the Snake River in Idaho, an ugly racially-motivated attack took place in Rock Springs. The level of violence makes it one of the worst such situations in the history of the West.

Similar to those who had worked on the Central Pacific Railroad and later made their way to mining ventures in the Boise Basin, the Chinese who had been employed by the Union Pacific ultimately found work in the coal mines in Wyoming after 1875. That year white miners went on strike, and the Union Pacific hired 150 Chinese replacements. The Chinese workers established their own area of town and “commenced their labor … running out the coal in as good a condition as in days gone by,” reported the Laramie Daily Sentinel on November 25, 1875.

The white miners eventually settled their strike and returned to the mines.

Few problems arose during the next several years, but when another strike was threatened in 1885, sentiment against the Chinese coal miners reached fever pitch. At the time two Chinese miners were working to every one of other ethnicity. A labor riot broke out on September 2, 1885. A white mob stormed through Rock Springs’s Chinatown, killing somewhere between 28 and 52 Chinese miners, forcing others out of their homes and setting the buildings on fire.

The Chinese and their families forced out onto the desert by the rioting prompted Gov. Francis E. Warren to wire President Grover Cleveland for aid: “Mob now preventing some five-hundred Chinamen from reaching food or shelter. Sheriff of county powerless to suppress riot and asks for two companies of United States troops. I believe immediate assistance imperative to preserve life and property.”

Federal troops responded and restored order. The governor later told the Cheyenne Democratic Leader, “I have no fondness for Chinese … but I do have an interest in protecting, as far as my power lies, the lives, liberty and property of every human being in this territory … and so long as I am governor, I shall act in the spirit of that idea.”

The Chinese ultimately returned to Rock Springs, but the violence in Wyoming was not unique and such incidents continued all across the West. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 certainly helped fuel the rage, as it made a point to target “Chinese employed in mining.”

In visiting these early intermountain placer camps think about the evidence of care and attention archaeologists have found in the places white miners deserted where the Chinese later toiled. Since Chinese miners characteristically employed hand labor, they did not leave dredged tailings in their wake but rather neatly piled stacks and rows of boulders that they had vigilantly hand washed. In many ways their presence, in the form of interesting, unique and sometimes priceless artifacts, is just as tenderly presented in the region’s museums.

Related Posts

The Coming Man from Canton: Chinese Experience in Montana, 1862-1943, by Christopher W. Merritt (University&hellip


The Forgotten History of the Purging of Chinese from America

Gum Shan. Gold Mountain. That was what the people in Guangdong Province called the faraway land where the native population had red hair and blue eyes, and it was rumored that gold nuggets could be plucked from the ground. According to an account in the San Francisco Chronicle, a merchant visiting from Canton, the provincial capital—likely soon after the discovery of gold at Sutter Creek, in 1848—wrote to a friend back home about the riches that he had found in the mountains of California. The friend told others and set off across the Pacific Ocean himself. Whether from the merchant’s letter, or from ships arriving in Hong Kong, news of California’s gold rush swept through southern China. Men began scraping together funds, often using their family’s land as collateral for loans, and crowding aboard vessels that took as long as three months to reach America. They eventually arrived in the thousands. Some came in search of gold others were attracted by the lucrative wages that they could earn working for the railroad companies laying down tracks to join the Eastern and Western halves of the United States still others worked in factories making cigars, slippers, and woollens, or found other opportunities in the American West. They were mostly peasants, often travelling in large groups from the same village. They wore the traditional male hair style of the Qing dynasty, shaved pate in the front and a braid down to the waist in the back. They were escaping a homeland beset by violent rebellions and economic privation. They came seeking the vast, open spaces of the American frontier—where, they believed, freedom and opportunity awaited.

As the Chinese presence grew, however, it began to stir the anxieties of white Americans. Violence, often shocking in its brutality, followed. America, in the middle of the nineteenth century, was engaged in an epic struggle over race. The Civil War, by the latest estimates, left three-quarters of a million dead. In the turbulent years of Reconstruction that followed, at least two thousand Black people were lynched. Largely forgotten in this defining period of American history, however, is the virulent racism that Chinese immigrants endured on the other side of the country. According to “The Chinese Must Go” (2018), a detailed examination by Beth Lew-Williams, a professor of history at Princeton, in the mid eighteen-eighties, during probably the peak of vigilantism, at least a hundred and sixty-eight communities forced their Chinese residents to leave. In one particularly horrific episode, in 1885, white miners in Rock Springs, in the Wyoming Territory, massacred at least twenty-eight Chinese miners and drove out several hundred others.

Today, there are more than twenty-two million people of Asian descent in the United States, and Asians are projected to be the largest immigrant group in the nation by 2055. Asian-Americans have been stereotyped as the model minority, yet no other ethnic or racial group experiences greater income inequality––or perhaps feels more invisible. Then came the Presidency of Donald Trump, his racist sneers about “kung flu” and the “China virus,” and the wave of anti-Asian attacks that has swept the country.

The attacks have produced a remarkable outpouring of emotion and energy from the Asian-American community and beyond. But it is unclear what will become of the fervor once the sense of emergency dissipates. Asian-Americans do not fit easily into the narrative of race in America. Evaluating gradations of victimhood, and where a persistent sense of otherness ends and structural barriers begin, is complicated. But the surge in violence against Asian-Americans is a reminder that America’s present reality reflects its exclusionary past. That reminder turns the work of making legible a history that has long been overlooked into a search for a more inclusive future.

The vast majority of Chinese in America in the nineteenth century arrived in San Francisco, which had been a settlement of several hundred people before the gold rush, but ballooned into a chaotic metropolis of nearly three hundred and fifty thousand by the end of the century. In “Ghosts of Gold Mountain” (2019), Gordon H. Chang, a history professor at Stanford University, writes that, at least initially, many were generally welcoming toward the Chinese. “They are among the most industrious, quiet, patient people among us,” the Daily Alta California, the state’s leading newspaper, said in 1852. “Perhaps the citizens of no nation except the Germans, are more quiet and valuable.” Railroad officials were pleased by their work ethic. The Chinese “prove nearly equal to white men, in the amount of labor they perform, and are far more reliable,” one executive wrote.

White workers, however, began to see the Chinese as competition––first for gold and, later, for scarce jobs. Many perceived the Chinese to be a heathen race, unassimilable and alien to the American way of life. In April, 1852, with the numbers of arriving Chinese growing, Governor John Bigler urged the California state legislature “to check this tide of Asiatic immigration.” Bigler, a Democrat who had been elected the state’s third governor the previous year, explicitly differentiated “Asiatics” from white European immigrants. He argued that the Chinese, unlike their Western counterparts, had not come seeking America as the “asylum for the oppressed of all nations” but only to “acquire a certain amount of the precious metals, and then return to their native country.” The legislature enacted a series of measures to drive out the “Mongolian and Asiatic races,” including by imposing a fifty-dollar fee on every arriving immigrant who was ineligible to become a citizen. (At the time, naturalization procedures were governed by a 1790 law that restricted citizenship to “free white persons.”)

In 1853, the Daily Alta published an editorial on the question of whether the Chinese should be permitted to become citizens. It conceded that “many of them it is true are nearly as white as Europeans.” But, it claimed, “they are not white persons in the sense of the law.” The article characterized Chinese Americans as “morally a far worse class to have among us than the negro” and described their disposition as “cunning and deceitful.” Even though the Chinese had certain redeeming qualities of “craft, industry, and economy,” it said, “they are not of that kind that Americans can ever associate or sympathize with.” It concluded, “They are not of our people and never will be.”

In remote mining communities, where vigilante justice often prevailed, white miners drove the Chinese off their claims. In 1859, miners gathered at a general store in northern California’s Shasta County and voted to expel the Chinese. In “Driven Out” (2007), a comprehensive account of anti-Chinese violence, Jean Pfaelzer, a professor of English and Asian studies at the University of Delaware, writes that an armed mob of two hundred white miners charged through an encampment of Chinese at the mouth of Rock Creek who had refused to leave. They captured about seventy-five Chinese miners and marched them through the town of Shasta, where people pelted them with stones. The county’s young sheriff, Clay Stockton, and his deputies, managed to disperse the mob and free the captives. But, in the following days, gangs of white miners rampaged through Chinese camps in the surrounding towns, as Stockton and his men struggled to bring the violence under control. The skirmishes came to be called the Shasta Wars. Eventually, the governor dispatched an emergency shipment of a hundred and thirteen rifles, by steamer, and a posse of men assembled by Stockton was able to restore order. The rioters were put on trial, but were quickly acquitted. “Quiet once more reigns in the Republic of Shasta,” an article in the local newspaper, the Placer Glasnik, said. “May the fierce alarums of war never more call her faithful sons to arms!”

On October 24, 1871, racial tensions exploded in Los Angeles’s Chinatown on a narrow street lined with shops and residences, called Calle de los Negros, or Negro Alley. Many details are murky, but the journalist Iris Chang writes in “The Chinese in America” (2003) that a white police officer, investigating the sound of gunfire, was shot a white man who rushed to help was killed. An angry mob of several hundred men gathered. “American blood had been shed,” one later recalled. “There was, too, that sense of shock that Chinese had dared fire on whites, and kill with recklessness outside their own color set. We all moved in, shouting in anger and as some noticed, in delight at all the excitement.” The street was ransacked and looted, and there were shouts of “Hang them! Hang them!” By night’s end, roughly twenty Chinese were dead, most of them hanged, their bodies left dangling in the moonlight one of them was a fourteen-year-old boy. The incident remains one of the worst instances of a mass lynching in American history.

A prolonged economic slump in the mid-eighteen-seventies fanned white resentment. Factories on the East Coast shuttered, and unemployed workers migrated West searching for work. The completion of the transcontinental railroad also left many laborers in need of jobs. An Irish immigrant named Denis Kearney, who ran a business in San Francisco hauling dry goods, began to deliver fiery speeches in a vacant sandlot near city hall. Kearney’s audience eventually grew to thousands of embittered workers. Much of his ire was directed at “railroad robbers,” “lecherous bondholders,” and “political thieves,” but he reserved his worst vitriol for “the Chinaman.” He ended his speeches with the acclamation “The Chinese must go!” In 1877, thousands of frustrated laborers in California formed the Workingmen’s Party of California, and elected Kearney its president. “California must be all American or all Chinese,” Kearney said. “We are resolved that it shall be American, and are prepared to make it so.”

In central California, white workers began burning down Chinese homes. In San Francisco, members of an anti-Chinese club disrupted an evening labor meeting in front of city hall and clamored for them to denounce the Chinese. A crowd marched to Chinatown and set buildings ablaze and shot people in the streets days of looting and assaults followed. It took several thousand volunteers, armed with pick handles, and backed by police and federal troops and gunboats offshore, to bring the riots under control after three days, by which time four people were dead and fourteen wounded.


Chinese miners are massacred in Wyoming Territory - HISTORY

During the summer of 1885, tensions had been building between Chinese coal miners and European coal miners in Rock Springs, Wyoming Territory. Both groups were employed by the Union Pacific Coal Company and were having a dispute over wages.

According to Dudley Gardner in his article “The Wyoming Experience Chinese in Wyoming” he states the following about growing tensions in the mines, “Growing anti-Chinese sentiment, coupled with Union Pacific’s wage-cutting policies, led to a volatile situation. Warnings of this sentiment came to the attention of the management of the Union Pacific, but they went unheeded. Seemingly, little was done to avoid events that eventually erupted in violence.

One of the contributing factors that led to the anti-Chinese movement in the coalmines was a perception that Chinese miners were treated better than whites. This false perception grew in part from cultural misunderstanding. In fact, on the average, Chinese coal miners made less and paid more for goods and services. For example, in the late 1880s Chinese miners earned between $1.73 and $2 a day for their labors underground. By comparison, white miners earned $2.50 to $3 each day. Meanwhile, Chinese coal miners rented their homes for between $5 and $7 each month. Union Pacific rented similar houses for $2.50 a month to white miners. Interestingly, for September 1885, when the Chinese miners only lived two days in the Union Pacific homes, they were charged either $1 or $2 rent. Meanwhile, the head of Union Pacific Coal Company, D. O. Clark, who lived in one of the finest houses in town in the years leading up to the tragedy in Rock Springs, paid only $5 a month rent.

Despite these facts, many whites felt that the Union Pacific granted the Chinese extra privileges. The major complaints of the white miners in the 1880s included the statement that “Chinese miners were favored in the assignment of rooms in the mines,” where the actual extracting of coal took place. The coal miners in Rock Springs thought that the Chinese miners were given the easiest “workings” where they could more easily extract coal and make more money each day. To this end, white miners accused J. M. Tisdel, mine superintendent in Rock Springs, of selling “privileges to Chinamen.” Adding to their discontent was the fact that Union Pacific coal miners were “compelled to trade at the Beckwith, Quinn and Company store.” Trade at Beckwith and Quinn was especially objectionable to the white miners since this company had brought the Chinese miners into Wyoming.”

On the morning of Sept. 2, 1885, growing tensions turned violent when a mob of European coal miners attacked their Chinese co-workers at the mine. Later that afternoon, an angry mob had formed which led to more violence within the Chinatown community of Rock Springs. At the end of the tragedy, the community learned that 28 Chinese miners had been killed and 15 more were wounded. Seventy-nine homes were set ablaze and the bodies of many of the dead were thrown into the flames. Several hundred Chinese workers were chased out of town and property damage was estimated at $150,000.

In the days and weeks following the riot, newspapers across the country reported on the event, including the Las Vegas Daily Gazette on Sept. 4, 1885 as seen here from the Library of Congress: “Worse Than Reported.”

Headline from the front page of the Las Vegas Gazette, September 4, 1885, reporting on the extend of the Rock Springs Massacre. Image from the Library of Congress, Chronicling America project.

Las Vegas Gazette front page from September 4, 1885. Second column shows reporting on the Rock Springs Massacre. Image from the Library of Congress, Chronicling America project.

“Rock Springs Massacre” illustration, seen below, is archived at the American Heritage Center and the Library of Congress. This illustration of the massacre was published in the Sept. 26, 1885 edition of Harper’s Weekly and was drawn by Thure. de Thulstrup from photographs by Lieutenant C.A. Booth of the Seventh United States Infantry. https://www.loc.gov/item/89708533/

Illustration of the massacre from the Sept. 26, 1885 edition of Harper’s Weekly. The massacre of the Chinese at Rock Springs, Wyoming drawn by Thure. de Thulstrup from photographs by Lieutenant C.A. Booth, Seventh United States Infantry.

On September 8, 1885, the Springfield Globe Republic newspaper (Springfield, OH) reported that the sheriff of Sweetwater County arrested 22 of “the supposed” rioters in Rock Springs, as seen here from the Library of Congress: “Arresting the Rioters.”

Front page of the Springfield Globe-Republic (Springfield, OH), from September 8, 1885, reporting on the arrest of “the supposed” rioters. From the Library of Congress, Chronicling America project.

Photograph from the National Archives, depicts Federal Troops on South Front Street in Rock Springs, Wyoming Territory, 1885.

Federal troops arrived in Rock Springs one week after the murders to restore order. They would remain in Rock Springs for 13 years, until 1898.

Although the killing and rioting had been done in broad daylight, law enforcement was unable to get any members of the community to attest to what they saw and the crimes that were committed. No European miners or community members were ever put on trial for the murders or looting.

Thomas Nast, one of the most prolific illustrators of the time, created the following editorial cartoon in 1885 to depict the massacre in Rock Springs.

Cartoon drawn by Thomas Nast in 1885 that depicts the massacre in Rock Springs. From the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Illustration by Frederick B. Opper in 1885 that shows Uncle Sam preparing a list of places in China where “Americans [have been] killed by Chinese” and a Chinese man preparing a list of places in America where “Chinese [have been] killed by Americans” including the latest incident in “Wyoming Territory”. From the Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/item/2011660543/

Cover of Puck Magazine, September 16, 1885. Illustration shows Uncle Sam preparing a list of places in China where “Americans [have been] killed by Chinese” and a Chinese man preparing a list of places in America where “Chinese [have been] killed by Americans” including the latest incident in “Wyoming Territory”. Illustration by Frederick B. Opper.


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