Friday, May 5, 2017

Asian Pacific Americans in St Louis: A Living History

我們出席一項目:亞洲美國人在 St Louis 的歷史。
Steve and I went to the "Asian Pacific Americans in St Louis: A Living History" event yesterday.

"Explore the history of Asian Pacific Americans in St. Louis, the challenges they’ve faced over the years, and the many contributions they’ve made to our region during an evening filled with food, art, performances, and speakers. Attendees will also be invited to bring the past into the present by sharing their own histories. Visit for program details."

The four panelists: Neelu Panth (from Nepal), Dick Henmi (from Japan), Mai Lee (from Vietnam) and Don Ko is Chinese. They were sharing their stories.

The event included an art display about life in the old St. Louis Chinatown.  Hop Alley was between Market St. and Walnut St., from the late-1800's until it was demolished to make way for Busch Stadium in the 1960's.

Caption: "...starting from 1890 Chinese laundries suddenly disappeared from the directory.  Started to reappear in GOULD'S STL DIRECTORY from 1911 and they continued to be the primary occupation of Chinese."  "Hop Alley" was bound by 7th & 8th and Market & Walnut Streets though Chinese lived and worked all throughout downtown.  Some sources say it was named for "hop heads" opium addicts.  The master plan for downtown "the recommended land..(unreadable)".

Caption: You all lived together in boarding houses and above shops...with communal dinners like back home.  They called you "blight", they called it "slum clearance".

Caption: In 1875 they passed the Page Law, targeting "undesirables".  To the law, Chinese women & sex workers were one and the same.  You were considered "undesirable"

Caption: You were yellow peril.  The police called you "highbinders" and arrested those without papers.  In the early 20th Century, the whole country launched a crusade against Asian communities. White journalists strolled down your streets. They wrote that you were "peculiar creatures" and called your children "oblique eyed babies".

Caption: "The police raided your homes, your businesses, your neighborhood"


Caption: "You worked long days, getting up early to starch collars and  iron other peoples shirts.  Yours was the cheapest in the city.  Your whole family lived in the back of the laundry."



Anonymous said...

You probably know as well mixed-ethnic marriages were illegal in Missouri until stricken down by a federal court in 1968. I don't know whether Missouri actually enforced the ban as late as 1968, but it remained on the books until then.


eHeart said...

I am not that familiar with US history. Until I heard just a few years ago when Steve mentioned mixed race marriages were illegal. I was like, "What?!!"


I've wondered whether the anti-miscegenation laws were actually enforced, particularly with all the servicemen returning from Asia after WWII & Korea. I was always under the impression, perhaps incorrectly, that these laws mostly targeted black/white marriages.


Anonymous said...

The USA was as bad as South Africa until 1968. Mixed marriages were illegal because white law makers believed the white race needed to be kept pure, uncontaminated by lesser cultures.


Anonymous said...

The USA was an Apartheid state until 1968. When my mother was growing up, her highschool had separate drinking fountains for white students and black students. ST Louis still grapples with "red lining", an informal policy among real estate agents not to show black Americans property in certain areas.