seattle community members march for chinese expulsion remembrance

Over the weekend in Seattle, more than a hundred community members gathered for the Chinese Expulsion Remembrance event, commemorating the 125th anniversary of one of the darkest times in the city's history: Chinese Expulsion Remembrance event marks 'shameful moment' in Seattle history.

In 1886, Seattle's Chinese immigrants were rounded up by a racist mob and literally marched out of the city, and forced into a boat. At Saturday's event, participants made the symbolic reverse journey -- from the docks, uphill and back into the Chinatown International District:
The Chinese Expulsion Remembrance event marked the 125th anniversary of one of the darkest times in Seattle history. It's only the second time the incident has been formally remembered. The first was 25 years ago, on the 100th anniversary of the expulsion.

By calling attention to the 1886 event again, the organizers hope those events of the past will never be repeated with a new generation of immigrants.

As event Chairwoman Bettie Luke said before the march started: "This kind of dislike for people who are different and questioning who is a real American has me alarmed."

She said her great-uncle worked as the Seattle mayor's houseboy at the time of the expulsion. And even though it was a horrific event that ended with the city under martial law, "many people have never heard about this," she said.
It's a nasty forgotten moment in America's racist history, a violent campaign not just waged in Seattle, but throughout the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain region during the latter half of the 19th century. (To learn more, I highly recommend reading Jean Pfaezer's Driven Out: The Forgotten War against Chinese Americans.)

I wish I could say something profound about lessons learned... but sadly, history seems to be repeating itself, with all the racist, xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiment choking America today in various forms.

angry archive