Speaking Chinese in the Wild West

Chinese tradespeople in 19th century Arizona Territory

Chinese tradespeople in 19th century Arizona Territory


The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was America’s first, and possibly only, federal law explicitly forbidding the immigration of a specific ethnic group.

Intended to remain in place for a period of ten years, many Americans might be unaware that this legislation, in one form or another, persisted until 1943!!

Even after this, the USA operated a “National Origins Formula“.

This is a term used to describe a whole range of laws and measures used from the 1920s up until the passage of The Civil Rights Act of the 1960s as a way of keeping America “white” and ostensibly “Christian”.

Here are some Chinese workers in Arizona Territory, as mentioned in our podcast episode My Little Runaway


#BeforeWeWereWhite #history #ChineseAmericans #WildWest

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