- Ari Kelman, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek, (2013).
- *Erika Lee, At America’s Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943 (2007), Chapters 1-2 [Scanned and available on course iSite]
- Carole Butcher, Let Them Eat Grass: The 1862 Dakota Uprisings
- *“The Wasp” article: “The Chinese Must Go”
- *The Workingmen’s Party, “An Address From the Workingmen of San Francisco to Their Brothers Throughout the Pacific Coast” (Focus on pp. 1-2 ; 8-10; 17-24)
- *Dennis Kearney, Appeal from California: The Chinese Invasion, Indianapolis Times, 28 February 1878.
- *Excerpt from Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts [Note: This is a contemporary memoir published in 1976, but I wanted Hist & Lit students interested in cultural memory to have the opportunity to look at how Kingston handled this history if desired; this text will not be a required piece for class discussion, but a welcome contribution in our conversation from anyone interested.]
Questions to think about while reading:
Building off of our conversation Tuesday about the realities and legacies of John Sutter, this week’s readings (especially A Misplaced Massacre), focuses on historical complexity.
- How do you structurally tell the story of an event that had so many competing interpretations? Can we capture the complexity of past human life and interaction accurately through writing alone?
- Is every bit of history worth saving and writing so that it can be remembered, or are some histories too toxic? Should some histories be forgotten?
- What are the politics of historical memory? How do historical street or university building names, local monuments, and memorials play into the reterritorialization of our built environment and its memory?
- How was the Civil War and Reconstruction a battle over slavery and race? How was it a war of imperial expansion into the West? Was there a relationship between the two?
- Is there such a thing as historical justice and restoration?
- What were the motivations for the Chinese Exclusion Act? What was the result?
- Is there anything distinctively “western” about the anti-Chinese propaganda and caricatures?
- Pay very close attention to how different sources and research methodologies are used in A Misplaced Massacre to tell different historical perspectives and interpretations. Is this innovative or problematic?
Angel Island Profile: Tyrus Wong (the lead artist and animator for Walt Disney’s Bambi)
Chinese Exclusion: A Legislative History of the U.S. Congress
Images Related to the Chinese Exclusion Act & Debate
Important Civil War Legislation Related to the West
1862: The Homestead Act, the Morrill Land-Grand Act, the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act, Pacific Railway Act
Important Dates Related to Asian American Immigration & Citizenship History
1790: Naturalization Act
1848: Gold discovered at Sutter’s Mill, Chinese laborers arrive to mine for gold with the rest of the world
1850: Foreign Miners Tax primarily targets Chinese & Mexican miners
1868: 14th Amendment: Citizenship status given to native born, due process, equal protection
1870: Naturalization Act amended to include “Freed Africans and their descendants.”
1875: Page Law: Prohibits contract laborers and Chinese women who might be prostitutes
1875: San Francisco tries to pass Anti-Queue Law requiring all Chinese arrested will have their heads shaved; Mayor vetoes law
1880: Approximately 106,000 Chinese in America; California passes anti-miscegenation law (no interracial marriage) largely to protect property rights through inheritance
1882: Chinese Exclusion Act: Prohibits Chinese laborers for 10 years, denies naturalization, does allow merchants, families & students to enter. By 1883, Chinese immigration drops from 40,000 to 23.
1885: Rock Springs Wyoming Anti-Chinese Violence; Political Codes Amendment allows for the segregation of Chinese in schools, public facilities, hospitals, etc.
1888: Scott Act: No re-entry permits for Chinese immigrants or visitors
1892: Geary Act: Extended the Chinese Exclusion Act for 10 more years, ID cards required with pictures to be carried on all Chinese Americans, along with listing defining physical attributes
1902: Chinese Exclusion Act extended for an inter-determinate period, also includes Hawaii and Philippines
1904: Extended indefinitely (“without modification, limitation, or condition”)
1907: Gentlemen’s Agreement: prohibited Japanese & Korean laborers
1913: Alien Land Laws prohibit buying or owning land by “aliens” or those “ineligible for citizenship.”
1917: Barred Zone Act: Prohibited Indian and other South Asians from immigrating
1920: 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote, but did not include majority of Asian women due to citizenship laws
1922: Ozawa vs. US: Japanese immigrant at UC Berkeley who was married with two children. He only spoke English and was denied citizenship. He was a Christian and temperance leader. He argued in the Supreme Court that Japanese were of lighter skin compared to Italians, Greeks, and other Europeans.
1923: US vs. Thind: Already a citizen of Indian descent, he served in WWI, and was active in the Indian Independence Movement. He argued that “mongoloids” were white
1924: Native Americans granted citizenship for the first time
1934: Tydings-McDuffy Act: Establishes fifty year requirement for Filipinos
1943: Repeal of Chinese Exclusion Acts in context of World War II
1946: Indian & Filipino immigrants granted the right to naturalization
1952: McCarren-Walter Act: does away with racial restrictions on citizenship, but it was anti-communist, anti-gay & lesbian
1965: Immigration Act: Does away with national quotas, establishes preferences
Blog Post Assignment
1. Write a thoughtful and structured 2-3 paragraph response to any element of A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek that most interested you.
2) Please respond to at least two other classmates’ posts.
3) Between now and class on Tuesday, take a picture of a historical memorial, landmark, or commemoration on campus and send it in to me. Be prepared to share a few sentences in class about what it is arguing about the past and if you agree or not.
Harvard University Memorials & Commemorations
Want to learn more? Suggested Sources Related to Chinese Immigration and Exclusion
- Poetic Waves/Angel Island documenting poetry written by Chinese immigrants in San Francisco (an interactive website)
- “The Fifteenth Amendment Illustrated”
- Lasting Legislation of the Civil War
- The Homestead Act of 1862
- American Federation of Labor, Some Reasons for Chinese Exclusion. Meat vs. Rice. American Manhood against Asiatic Coolieism .Which Shall Survive? Senate Doc. No. 137, 57th Congress, 1st Session (Washington D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1902).
- Memorial of Chinese Laborers, Resident at Rock Springs, Wyoming Territory, to the Chinese Consul at New York (1885). Reprinted in Cheng-Tsu Wu, ed., Chink! (New York: The World Publishing Company, 1972), 152–16