Monday marks the 145th anniversary of the Chinese massacre of 1871, one of the worst mass lynchings in U.S. history. On October 24, 1871, racially motivated riots resulted in the massacre of 19 Chinese men and boys in the streets of downtown Los Angeles -- one of the darkest chapters in the city's history.
On the evening of October 24, 1871, several white policemen entered Chinatown to break up an argument between members of rival Chinese tongs. Whether by anger or accident, a white man was shot to death. Shortly thereafter, a mob of 500 entered Chinatown and assaulted every Chinese person they saw.
Eleven white men, including Sheriff James Burns and prominent Los Angeleno Robert Widney, attempted to protect the Chinese and stop the violence, but they were also attacked. After five hours, the vigilantes had tortured and hanged 19 Chinese men and boys, and looted Chinese homes and businesses.
The incident drew national attention and provoked a grand jury investigation. Seven men were held responsible and convicted for the riots, but only one actually served any jail time.
On Monday in Los Angeles, the Chinese American Museum will join with other community organizations and local leaders for a vigil observing the anniversary of the Chinese Massacre of 1871.
Commemoration of the 1871 Los Angeles Chinese Massacre
Monday, October 24, 2016 | 7pm – 7:30pm
Chinese American Museum
425 N. Los Angeles St. | Los Angeles, CA 90012
Join the Chinese American Museum and local leaders on Monday, Oct. 24, as we observe the 145th anniversary of the Chinese massacre.
Dr. Gay Yuen, Past President, Friends of the Chinese American Museum
Christopher Espinosa, General Manager for El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument
Hon. Judy Chu, U.S. House of Representatives (invited)
Hon. Ed Chau, California State Assembly
Hon. Mike Eng, Trustee of the LA Community College Board
Pamela Ng, Community Member
Moment of silence and the reading of the names of the victims will take place
1871 Chinese Massacre
On the evening of Oct. 24, 1871, a Latino police officer and a white resident Robert Thompson entered Chinatown to break up a gun fight between members of rival Chinese tongs. Whether by anger or accident, Thompson was shot to death. Shortly thereafter, a mob of 500 Angelenos entered Chinatown and assaulted every Chinese person they saw. Chinese homes and businesses were also looted. Eleven men, including Sheriff James Burns and prominent Los Angeleno Robert Widney, attempted to protect the Chinese and stop the violence, but they were ignored. After five hours, the vigilantes had tortured, shot and hanged 17 Chinese men and 1 boy. This incident drew national attention and provoked a grand jury investigation. Eight men were held responsible and was sentenced to Sam Quentin. Their convictions were overturned by the California Supreme Court on a technicality a year later and all the convicted killers were released.
More here: Commemorating LA's Chinese Massacre, possibly the worst lynching in US history