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Segregation and Displacement in Old Chinatown PDF 
Written by Isabella Seong-Leong Quintana   

 

“Shaken as by an Earthquake:”

Chinese Americans, Segregation and Displacement in Los Angeles, 1870-1938

By Isabella Seong-Leong Quintana
[Gum Saan Journal, Volume 32, No 1, 2010]

“The old men were shaken as by an earthquake when they learned that a modern Union Depot with expansive grounds was going to dislodge them from their long established habitations,” wrote Garding Lui in 1948. [1]  Published some ten years following the final displacement of the majority of Los Angeles’ Chinatown, Lui’s words provide a glimpse of how Chinatown residents experienced the loss of their homes, businesses and community. From 1933 until 1938, Chinese, along with Mexican residents whose homes bordered Chinatown to the north, were forced to relocate and all buildings east of Alameda Street were razed to the ground. In their places, the city of Los Angeles built a number of city and civic buildings including Union Station railroad terminal. The removal of Old Chinatown in the 1930s is significant not only for the geographical dispersal, but also for the destruction of the original center of Chinese community life in Los Angeles.[2]

 

Following a long-established history of anti-Chinese policies, practices and events, city officials’ decision to build Union Station in Chinatown’s place built upon an entrenched national and local culture of exclusion that shaped the daily lives of Chinese people. Chinese communities faced state and local policies as well as everyday discrimination that segregated their living spaces and controlled their geographic mobility. By the 1870s, when Chinatown’s population had grown significantly, Chinese homes and businesses lined Calle de los Negros (renamed Los Angeles Street in 1877) adjacent to the plaza and shared space with Mexican homes and businesses. [3]  Because of limitations placed on Chinese property ownership, Chinese rented property that was previously occupied by Spanish-Mexican elites. City boosters chose to build Union Station in Chinatown’s location in order to take advantage of the aesthetic qualities of the Plaza and the tourism possibilities it offered for a romanticized Spanish-Mexican “past,” [4] erasing Chinese roots in the city center.

 

From the 1870s until 1938, Chinatown grew in both population and geographical area. By the 1900s, there were many more families who came to live alongside the large numbers of male laborers. Born in Chinatown in 1917, Eleanor SooHoo remembered the places of her neighborhood. “Well, the streets were unpaved,” she recalled. “There were dirt streets. There was a playground at the end of Apablasa Street, and across from that there was a horse stable.”[5] Having grown up in Old Chinatown during the 1920s and 30s, SooHoo is part of the last generation of children to witness its landscapes. Although the physical geography of Old Chinatown was destroyed, oral histories allow us to imagine how Chinatown residents played, worked and lived. They offer us an opportunity to understand Old Chinatown as a place made through the vibrancy of human interactions in everyday life. While segregation and limited resources constrained the everyday activities of Chinese women, men and children, these recollections illuminate the ways in which Chinatown residents were able to build communities and make home.

 

Housing and Segregation

 In 1870, close to two hundred Chinese residents lived in Los Angeles according to the U.S. census.  This was a dramatic increase from the fourteen Chinese residents recorded by the census ten years before.  In 1870 approximately half of L.A.’s  Chinese residents lived on Calle de los Negros next to the Plaza. The larger area surrounding the Plaza attracted many immigrant communities. Over the next few decades, the neighborhood’s residents would live in a segregated geographical area that became known as Chinatown, despite the Mexican households located within Chinatown’s perceived borders and especially on its perimeter.[6]

 

From the 1870s through the first few decades of the 20th century, the population living in the Chinese quarters around the Plaza grew radically despite government policies designed to curtail Chinese immigration, anti-Chinese labor agitation and racial violence. One study suggests the majority of Chinese migrants to Los Angeles came from other parts of California. Many migrated to Los Angeles after their work with track construction for the Southern Pacific Railroad ended, others came in the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and still others came from rural areas where anti-Chinese sentiment was high and Chinese population was smaller. [7] Government policies had particular salience for women. As historians have argued, the 1875 Page Law, which specifically restricted the migration of Chinese women into U.S. geopolitical borders, played a crucial role in limiting the population of Chinese women in the United States. [8] The law was rewritten seven years later in 1882—the Chinese Exclusion Act—to limit the migration of all Chinese laborers.

 

By 1880, the Chinese population in Los Angeles had increased five fold since the previous decade—from 234 to 1169. Over the next 30 years, in 1910, the population more than doubled to 2,602.  While the population increased tremendously between 1880 and 1910, the percentage of women only grew from 4.5% to 5.7%. [9] As Chinatown’s population grew, the area became increasingly identified as Chinese, despite the racial and ethnic diversity of those living in the area. As the name “Chinatown” implied, mainstream perceptions of the area were that it was racially homogenous. According to the 1930 census, Mexican and Japanese homes were located side-by-side with Chinese ones in the area near the L.A. Plaza. Still, Chinese households made up the majority of the residences on major thoroughfares in the area that was known as Chinatown. [10]

 

As Los Angeles’ Anglo population boomed, Mexican and Chinese residents of the Plaza area became more and more geographically isolated from the rest of the city. Housing segregation barred Chinese people from living in most parts of the city, along with Mexicans, Blacks and Japanese. [11]  Nonetheless, Chinatown’s initial settlements located along Calle de los Negros in the early 1870s eventually expanded east. By the 1880s, Chinatown reached eastward toward the Los Angeles River, and homes were increasingly located in the river’s flatlands, an area that often flooded and served as a prime site for further railroad track construction and other industries.  When the Southern Pacific railroad arrived in Los Angeles in 1876, its tracks passed through the middle of Chinatown along Alameda Street.  For decades thereafter, the regular passing of trains through the area were part of the fabric of the Chinatown experience. “All night long you could hear the rains coming in and out. It was very noisy there,” remembered Arthur Chung, who lived in Chinatown as a child during the 1920s. “You know, in the Old Chinatown, the trains used to pass right through, right in the middle of Chinatown.”[12] Additionally, the area did not receive regular city services—such as paving, plumbing, and housing regulations. In essence, the city targeted Chinatown and the immediately surrounding area for infrastructure that benefited the city at large, especially white Angelinos, but was unwilling to provide regular municipal services for the communities that lived there.

 

Residential housing in the flatlands on the eastern side of Chinatown during the 1870s through the 1930s was not only located alongside railroad lines, but also the horse stables of the Chinese-run grocery industry. Chinese grocers utilized a large area of the flatlands near the river to keep their horses and wagons, which they used to take produce from farms to various Los Angeles markets. Many Chinese men worked in the produce industry, growing vegetables on rented land to sell at city market. In an 1878 ordinance, the City of Los Angeles began requiring vegetable peddlers to register for a permit that would allow them to legally sell their produce in the city.  In response, they went on strike, which forced the city to rescind the ordinance.  In 1880, 50 of the 60 registered vegetable peddlers in Los Angeles were Chinese. Fourteen years later, the city registered 103. [13] So dependent was the city on Chinese vegetable industry that in 1886, vegetable peddlers were able to quell an anti-Chinese boycott by refusing to sell to people who upheld pledges against hiring Chinese labor and patronizing Chinese businesses. [14] Such scrutiny of Chinese grocers continued into the 1910s, when city health officials, buttressing the popular notion that Chinese grocers were unsanitary and a threat to the city’s public health, instituted regulations on fruit and vegetable vending aimed specifically at Chinese vendors. [15] In his oral history interview, David Lee, who was born “right next to the stables” in 1920 emphasized the proximity of Chinatown homes with the stables and the role of the produce industry in the Chinatown community. “They used to have stables, all the grocery, they used for horse-buggy and wagon and then put their grocery and then go to district to sell.”[16] In the first decades of the 20th century, congestion associated with vegetable wagons in Chinatown and the shared spaces of housing and horse stables drew the attention of city officials who had long been concerned about sanitation in the general Plaza area. A 1922 study suggested that “hundreds” of Chinese men slept in the corrals with the horses and vegetables at nighttime. [17] Whether or not this was true, the stable area was a fixture in the daily experiences of Chinatown residents and work in vegetable production and sale was common amongst Chinatown men.

 

The area surrounding the Plaza was segregated not only by race, but by industry as well. In addition to the produce stables, railroad tracks and other industries, the area was also home to the city’s red light district. Prostitution and gambling were bustling commercial industries in both Chinese and Mexican areas around the Plaza at the turn of the twentieth century. At this time, a number of other brothels flourished in the area, despite city regulations aimed at expelling them. [18] As one historian notes, “through zoning laws and corrupt practices, city officials had allowed nearly all of the gambling houses and brothels and one-third of the city’s saloons to be located in the space between the Plaza and the heart of Chinatown.”[19] As Chinatown was largely a bachelor society, brothels flourished, in part, due to the large numbers of Chinese men seeking their services. These businesses also attracted Whites and Mexicans to Chinatown, both as workers and as clientele. [20] In the 1890s-1900s, Sannchez Street, which paralleled Los Angeles Street one block to the west, was known for a bustling brothel where Chinese women worked. [21] The city segregated these industries in the Plaza area, where few Whites lived. Although the City banned prostitution in 1909, many brothels continued their businesses. The presence of industries like stables for vegetable peddlers, railroad tracks and depots, and vice contributed further to the segregation of Los Angeles’ Chinese population, even while these industries were central to Los Angeles’ economy. This was the case even into the 1930s as the city made plans to build Union Station. “Chinatown was located in the worst parts of town,” recalled Chung who visited Chinatown regularly as a young person in the 1920s and 30s. “They never allowed the Chinese to live in the best parts of town. It was near Mexicantown, Olvera Street and First Street where the Japanese were. But it was not a good part of town.”[22] As Chung’s recollection demonstrates, Los Angeles’ Chinese residents were well aware of how segregation affected their daily lives and they recognized that segregation was an experience shared with other people of color—in Chung’s case, Mexicans and Japanese. In this way, Chinatown was a site of strategic containment ; Whites found Chinatown, and the Plaza area generally, undesirable as a place of residence, despite their desire to seek pleasure there.

 

These working-class communities took up residence in dwellings that were affordable, where they were permitted to rent and which offered them comfort, and, perhaps, safety in ethnic community. While some sought housing in Chinese enclaves elsewhere in the city by the 1920s, and in a few exceptional cases more wealthy Chinese families lived among non-Chinese people further from Chinatown, the Plaza area continued to be a commercial and social center for Chinese in the region.  Arthur Chung’s family, for example, lived several blocks south of the Plaza area near Pico and Hill, where his family ran an herbal medicine practice that catered to a non-Chinese clientele; they made regular trips to Chinatown to visit family and shop. [23]  Likewise, Eleanor SooHoo’s family visited Chinatown “about once a week,” after they moved to another part of the city. [24]

Initially, Chinese living quarters were old adobes and wooden structures; in later decades, there would also be brick buildings. In the late 19th century, the majority of these living quarters in Chinatown were two-story wooden structures, built very closely together. Arthur Chung described his aunt’s house in Chinatown as “a wooden frame house, two stories, very creaky and weird to walk on the floors and the floors would creak.”[25] Other families lived above storefronts. Lee’s family eventually moved above a storefront. “At that time, there was only a few place[s] you could live. We had a Bow Wong Low. That’s an apartment house, actually a rooming house we had the corner of the apartment. So our whole family lived up there. And downstairs the store, was a shoemaker or something like that.”[26] In this way, Chinese living spaces often overlapped with work and business spaces.

 

By the early 20th century, Chinatown increasingly drew a great deal of attention from Whites who were concerned with overcrowding.  In 1924, Lieutenant R. E. Steckel, an L.A. policeman who worked in Chinatown recalled a man who had a small space behind his store that he rented out to a number of men, “Old Jim down here has a little store with a sort of balcony at the back where he has beds which he rents to other Chinamen and makes his living that way.” [27]  Living situations, in which several Chinese men lived in shared and cramped quarters, were common. One resident remembered that his family shared their apartment with a number of single men who worked at their restaurant.  He commented, “Apartment also consists of all the workers also from the restaurant. We always had a lot of people at the…apartment….I would say five or six, plus the family. Most of them [were] singles…They would get married. They left their wives in China.”[28] Ying Wong Kwan recalled that when she was a young girl, her father opened a laundry business, which was located in the same building as their home, “Divided, you know, with walls, partitions and doors.”“We had proper living quarters there. And it was a very large room. Ample living quarters for the help too, which my father brought over. Ten people at a time and fed them.”[29] Tyrus Wong lived with his father in all male living quarters in Ferguson Alley, one of the major thoroughfares of Chinatown during the 1920s-30s. Although he and his father had a small room to themselves, he remembered that his building also housed a number of men who worked in farming. According to his description, there were often five or six men living in one large room, and other men often slept in the hallway. [30] Male lodging houses, like the one where Tyrus Wong lived, were common for both Chinese and Mexican working-men who lived in the Plaza area. They provided affordable and shared housing.

 

Everyday Life and the Making of Community

In addition to homes in which families took in boarders, lodging houses were common for men.  According to one sociologist of the time, “One typical lodging house has thirty-two rooms on one side and thirty-four on the other, alternate store and living rooms; upstairs all the rooms are occupied by lodgers.”These lodging houses had “community kitchens” that were shared by lodgers of multiple buildings and were often located “in crowded sleeping rooms, the ovens being wedged between built-in bunks.”[31] While the writer found this living situation deplorable, it seems likely that shared eating and living spaces also offered opportunities for community living in the midst of racial hostility.

 

Chinese women, especially those who migrated from China, did not leave the neighborhood area often. Much of their time was spent caring for children and the home, and in some cases, for family businesses as well. Their work included cooking, cleaning and washing for the boarders who stayed in their homes.  Chinese women of merchant families also worked to keep the family businesses running. However, because their numbers were so few and because their homes were often tied to businesses and served as rooming houses, Chinese women who had families were often the only women in the household, at least until a girl child was born.

 

During the early decades of the twentieth century, census records reveal that Chinese households were often composed of many laboring men; if there were women in the household at all, there were only one or two. Thus, Chinese women were somewhat isolated, spending time on household work for male family members and boarders alike. As one study states, “Visiting neighbors, relatives, or friends was the only leisure time activity for many Chinese women.”[32] Jennie Lee Taylor recalled this as well, as she recounted her mother’s participation in a small group of Chinese women in Chinatown during the 1920s. “They didn’t have any fun. They don’t go anyplace. They just stay home and most of the time they just gossip at each other and that’s about it.”Spending time talking with each other—or “gossiping at each other,” as Lee Taylor says—is one way that Chinese women of her mother’s age in the 1920s made connections with other women in the Chinatown community. [33]

 

Children also did a lot of work in the home. Jennie Lee Taylor recalled that her family’s laundry business mostly catered to single Chinese men. “[Our laundry business] was right in Chinatown.  Yah, mostly the bachelors, because during that time there weren’t that many women. So mostly the men. They bring their shirts and laundry and we send the laundry out to be washed and it comes back every Wednesday and Friday and I have to iron…We [she and her brother] use[d] to use those old fashioned irons, that uses the oil on the gas stove and they [weighed] about five or six pounds.”[34] Although this kind of work was taxing on children’s bodies, children’s work became a critical part of the fabric of Chinatown and the Los Angeles economy. Together, women and children labored in the home to provide food and laundry for Los Angeles’ working Chinese men.

 

Most of the children who lived in Chinatown attended Chinese schools after their public school day and in the summertime. Nora Sterry, principal of the Macy Street School, a school attended by many Chinatown children, counted five Chinese schools in Chinatown in 1922. [35]   Although Sterry suggested that Chinese children’s “great handicap” was a general lack of playtime and trouble socializing at school, [36] evidence shows that children played quite a bit, despite the work they did caring for siblings and helping with family businesses. The street and other common areas were chosen spaces for play. [37] Residents remember as children playing on the tracks of the Southern Pacific, which ran by their homes. In fact, the playground in Chinatown was located on a Southern Pacific lot, in the horse stables and only Chinese children played there. [38] Tyrus Wong remembered, “Down there [the horse yard] they had a corral but no horses in there, and that’s where they had the playground.” He went on: “I go down to the playground and play there with the same age, play baseball and things like that.”[39]

 

Displacement

By the 1930s, the combination of segregation and exclusion in the Plaza area was an entrenched part of the city’s urban planning processes, making Plaza area communities particularly vulnerable to city boosters.  Because Chinese did not own the land under their homes and gardens, they had little recourse when the city decided to force residents to move. Additionally, they did not have resources to protect their homes and businesses from incidents like fire. Such vulnerability was evident long before plans for Union Station were put into play.

 

In fact, Chinatown had been displaced before. When arsonists set Chinatown buildings along Calle de los Negros on fire in 1886, the flames spread quickly down the line of adobes where Chinese living quarters, stores, theater, restaurants and other businesses were located. [40] Another arson-related fire was set to Chinatown the following year in 1887. Despite the great loss that Chinatown residents experienced with this series of anti-Chinese activities, the arsonists were never penalized. Colonel Bee, “Acting Chinese Consul and chief solicitor for the Chinese Six Companies at San Francisco,” came to Los Angeles to investigate on behalf of Chinese residents who had suffered a great loss. The Los Angeles Times quoted Colonel Bee: “If the city is to blame, the losses must be paid…. If an American’s house is burned in China, all he has to do is to send in his bill, and it is paid by the government at once.”[41] Chinese settlements across the West had been experiencing arson-related fires. Bee’s statement demonstrates the sentiment that Chinese residents in Los Angeles were not receiving just treatment and response from municipal authorities. However, Bee’s negotiation with the City of Los Angeles resulted in plans to relocate Chinatown, or rather, to “remove” Chinatown “to a poorer part of the city” so that it would “no longer be a central eyesore.”[42] Another Times article stated that Chinatown’s displacement was expedited by both fire and lack of insurance coverage for Chinese residents: “Undoubtedly the late incendiary fires and the withdrawal of insurance from the Chinese quarters by the insurance companies have been the most potent influences on securing this quick result.”[43] In some ways, the 1886-87 arsons served as precedent for the “removal” of Chinatown forty years later with the building of Union Station.

 

Conversations about building a new train terminal in Los Angeles began long before plans were put into place. At the turn of the 20th century, the city sought to address congestion and traffic problems, caused largely by the web of railroad tracks that crossed each other through Plaza area neighborhoods, which they believed posed a concern for public safety. They settled on the site of Chinatown because of its proximity to the Plaza and the possibility of removing Chinatown from the area. The demolition of Chinatown and the construction of Union Station, were physical manifestations of the city’s controlled image of itself as a “White spot” in the U.S. landscape. As historian Mark Wild has argued, the construction of Union Station was a part of Los Angeles’ racialized corporate urban development efforts in the early 20th century; this development was characterized by the simultaneous rebuilding of the city’s physical, political and moral image in ways that “envisioned immigrant and nonwhite populations as distinct, bounded ethnic communities that could either be isolated from white populations or incorporated…into the broader urban community.”[44]  City planners and businessmen saw the building Union Station as serving multiple functions that upheld this image of the city; it would ease traffic problems and reroute railroad tracks, make room for government buildings and rid the city of Chinatown and other Plaza area residents whose presence threatened the “new” image. [45]

 

However, before construction could be commenced, the City of Los Angeles went through several land disputes, particularly with several of the descendents of Spanish-Mexican elites like the Apablasa’s and Sepulveda’s, who claimed rights to their ancestral plots, land atop which Chinatown communities had been built and settled. [46]  Chinese residents, unable to own land, were caught in the middle of a long-standing process of conquest in which the City of Los Angeles sought to claim land from those who had owned it before the U.S.-Mexico War. [47] As David Lee recollected, “We as Chinese at that time, we [were] only living here. We don’t own here. If they want you to move, you move…. No Chinese owned property around Chinatown. None of us owned anything.” [48] With the impending court decisions regarding land ownership, Chinatown residents began to move elsewhere. “They felt bad,” recalled Jenny Lee Taylor. “They all had to move regardless of what they felt they still had to move….during that time who are they going to protest to?”[49] By 1933, the removal of Old Chinatown began with the construction of Union Station. New Chinatown, in its current location northwest of the Plaza, would not officially open until 1938. Many relocated to the growing Chinese communities near city market and near Adams and San Pedro, as well as to New Chinatown. [50]

 

Conclusion

New Chinatown formed as a result of the construction of Union Station and became a new home to many former residents of Old Chinatown. Peter Soo Hoo, along with other L.A. Chinese businessmen, worked together to acquire property that would become the site of New Chinatown.  As Icy Smith points out, “New Chinatown was the first Chinese enclave in the United States which was owned by Chinese Americans.” [51] Many businesses that flourished in Old Chinatown were able to relocate to New Chinatown. Just as Old Chinatown was built on top of land that was formerly occupied by Spanish-Mexicans, New Chinatown was built on land where working-class Mexicans had lived before them, known as Sonoratown. Along with Mexicans who were also displaced with the building of Los Angeles municipal buildings, Chinese were easily “removed” to make room for the City’s plans for reimagining itself without a Chinese presence. Segregation and exclusion went hand-in-hand for the residents of Old Chinatown.

 

[1] Garding Lui, Inside Los Angeles Chinatown (Los Angeles, 1948), 38.

[2] Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, Linking Our Lives: Chinese American Women of Los Angeles (Los Angeles: Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, 1984), 16-18.

[3] Mark Wild, Street Meeting: Multiethnic Neighborhoods in Early Twentieth-Century Los Angeles (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005); William David Estrada, The Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008); César López, “El Descanso: A Comparative History of the Los Angeles Plaza Area and the Shared Racialized Space of the Mexican and Chinese Communities, 1853-1933” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, 2002).

[4] William Deverell, Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of itsMexican Past (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004); Estrada, The Los Angeles Plaza, 178.

[5] Eleanor Soo Hoo, interview by William Gow, 7 October 2007, CHSSC Chinatown Remembered Community History Project, Chinese Historical Society of Southern California.

[6] Estrada, The Los Angeles Plaza, 111.; Wild, Street Meeting.

[7] Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, Linking Our Lives, 13.

[8] Sucheng Chan, “The Exclusion of Chinese Women, 1870-1943,” in Entry Denied:Exclusion and the Chinese Community in America, 1882-1943(Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991), 94-146; George Anthony Peffer, If They Don't Bring their Women Here: Chinese Female Immigration Before Exclusion (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1999).

[9] Census figures for the general population in Los Angeles were actually highest in 1890 (at 4,424) and began to decrease over the next few decades.  Lucie Cheng and Suellen Cheng, “Chinese Women of Los Angeles, A Social Historical Survey,” in Linking Our Lives: Chinese American Women of Los Angeles (Los Angeles: Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, 1984), 2.

[10] U.S. Census, Los Angeles County, 1930.

[11] Ricardo Romo, East Los Angeles: History of a Barrio (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983), 84.

[12] Arthur W. Chung, interview by Beverly Chan, October 1979, Southern California Chinese American Oral History Project, UCLA Special Collections.

[13] G. Yee and E. Yee, “The Chinese and the Los Angeles Produce Market,” Gum Saan Journal 9, No. 2 (1986): 5-7.

[14] Everette G. Hager, George E. Kinney, and Anthony F. Kroll, An 1886 Chinese Labor Boycott in Los Angeles , Especially prepared as a keepsake for the Roxburghe and Zamorano Clubs (The Castle Press, 1982). 18-19, 25.

[15] Natalia Molina, Fit to Be Citizens?: Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1939 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), 31-35.

[16] David Lee, interview by Suellen Cheng, 5 December 1979, Southern California Chinese American Oral History Project, UCLA Special Collections.

[17] Nora Sterry, “Housing Conditions in Chinatown Los Angeles,” Journal of Applied Sociology (December 1922): 74.

[18] W. W. Robinson, Tarnished Angeles: Paradisiacal Turpitude in Los Angeles Revealed, Printed for members of the Roxburghe Club and the Zamorano Club (Los Angeles: The Ward Ritchie Press, 1964), 2.

[19] Romo, East Los Angeles, 76.

[20] Wild, Street Meeting, 125.

[21] Robinson, Tarnished Angeles, 16-19.

[22] Chung, interview.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Soo Hoo, interview. 

[25] Chung, interview.

[26] Lee, interview.

[27] Catherine Holt, “Information Obtained from Lieut. R. E. Stackel of Los Angeles Police Force, Vice Division, Chinatown Squad,” 29 July 29 1924, 2, Major Documents, 298:11, Survey of Race Relations,  Hoover Institute, Stanford University.

[28] Lee, interview.

[29] Ying Wong Kwan, interview by Jean Wong, 16 May 1979, Southern California Chinese American Oral History Project, UCLA Special Collections.

[30] Tyrus Wong, interview by William Gow, 6 October 2007, Chinatown Remembered Community History Project, Chinese Historical Society of Southern California.

[31] Sterry, “Housing Conditions,” 74.

[32] Cheng and Cheng, “Chinese Women of Los Angeles,” 14.

[33] Jennie Lee Taylor, interview by William Gow, 22 April 2007, CHSSC Chinatown Remembered Community History Project, Chinese Historical Society of Southern California.

[34] Lee Taylor, interview.

[35] Nora Sterry, “Social Attitudes of Chinese Immigrants,” Journal of Applied Sociology (August 1923): 327.

[36] Ibid., 326.

[37] Wild, Street Meeting, 96; Mabel Sam Lee, “The Recreational Interests and Participation of a Selected Group of Chinese Boys and Girls in Los Angeles, California” (Master's thesis, University of Southern California, 1939), 22.

[38] Cited in Wild, Street Meeting, 102.

[39] Wong, interview.

[40] “Chinatown Scorched, A Blaze Which Threatened to Sweep Nigger Alley,” Los Angeles Times , 24 October 1886.

[41] “The Busy Bee, Here to Investigate the Chinatown Fire,” Los Angeles Times, 2 August 1887.

[42] “Chinatown, It Will No Longer be a Central Eyesore, But Will be Removed Soon to a Poorer Part of the City.,” Los Angeles Times, 9 August 1887.

[43] “Removing Chinatown,” Los Angeles Times, 10 August 1887. Quoted in Roberta S. Greenwood, D own by the Station: Los Angeles Chinatown, 1880-1933 (Los Angeles: Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles, 1996), 11-12.

[44] Wild, Street Meeting, 39.

[45] Estrada, The Los Angeles Plaza, 177-181.

[46] Greenwood, Down by the Station, 35-37.

[47] For discussions of U.S. conquest of former Mexican territories, see for example Leonard Pitt, The Decline of the Californios: A Social History of the Spanish-Speaking Californians, 1846-1890 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971); Tomás Almaguer, Racial Fault Lines: The Historical Origins of White Supremacy in California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994); Miroslava Chávez-Garcia, Negotiating Conquest: Gender and Power in California, 1770s to 1880s (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2004); Richard Griswold del Castillo, The Los Angeles Barrio, 1850-1890 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979).

[48] Lee, interview.

[49] Lee Taylor, interview.

[50] Soo Hoo, interview.

[51] Icy Smith, The Lonely Queue: The Forgotten History of the Courageous Chinese Americans in Los Angeles (Gardena, CA: East West Discovery Press, 2000), 71.

 

© 2008 Chinese Historical Society of Southern California.ia.