Wow. This New York Times photo gallery highlights the work of Seattle photojournalist Tim Greyhavens, whose new online project, No Place for Your Kind, visits and photographs the sites of anti-Chinese incidents and vicious racial violence in the American West that occurred over a century ago: Picturing the Remnants of Anti-Chinese Violence.
The exhibit offers an entry point into a little-known and ignominious chapter of ethnic cleansing in American history that, viewed more than a century later, seems stunning for the sheer breadth and brazenness of racially motivated violence.What's striking and unsettling about the photos is a lot of them are really beautiful... but most are pretty mundane. There are no markers or monument. The 1887 site of a mass murder? Now just a tranquil river bank. The scene of an anti-Chinese riot? Looks like it's a church playground now.
From the mid-1800s until the early part of the 20th century, towns up and down the Western Seaboard, stretching into Wyoming and Colorado, lashed out against Chinese immigrants by rounding them up, often at gunpoint, and kicking them out. Dozens were killed and injured, and houses were set on fire.
Sometimes, the aggressors — who included mayors, judges and businessmen — acted out of economic fears. Sometimes, they acted out of cultural fears. But the Chinese also fought back, filing lawsuits and organizing boycotts, among other means. Yet much of that history is now largely unknown, even in the places where the violence transpired.
To see the photos and get some history, go here: No Place for Your Kind.