1886 Chinese Expulsion (A work in progress)
Considering recent news reports concerning attacks on the AAPI community, I am evermore compelled to continue in social justice work through my creativity to help address our continuing struggles and conflict and to be one of many voices in support of the community.
Symbolism & Description
Prior to the Seattle riot, there were armed attacks on Chinese laborers at Newcastle, Issaquah, Black Diamond, and elsewhere in Washington followed by a horrendous riot in Tacoma, where a vicious mob brutally expelled over 600 Chinese, killing several Chinese. There were hundreds of merciless attacks to expel the Chinese that occurred throughout the West.
The demand to expel and exclude the Chinese was based on the racist belief that the Chinese were unfair labor competition, deceitful, filthy, inferior, and unassimilable. Along with the attacks against the Chinese, there were many oppressive laws restricting their ability to live, work, operate a business, and to testify in courts.
Ultimately, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act was enacted, which dramatically curtailed Chinese immigration to the U.S. and denied them naturalization for decades. It was the first time U.S. restricted immigration based on race and nationality.
For many decades the Chinese presence in Seattle was greatly suppressed and confined to a racially segregated, marginalized Chinatown community because of the 1886 anti-Chinese riot and Chinese Exclusion Acts.
The City of Seattle passed a resolution in 2015 expressing regret for the anti-Chinese sentiments that led to the anti-Chinese riots and the expulsion of Chinese, recognizing the contributions of Chinese to Seattle, and reaffirming the City’s commitment to the civil rights of all people.
Seattle Waterfront - Alaskan Way South and South Washington adjacent to Compass Center
The Chinese American Legacy Artwork Project Governing Committee (CALAP)
Managed by: Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
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