An Anti-Coolie Labor Association was launched in San Francisco while the Chinese were battling the snows on Donner’s summit. The silver plated spike maul was also given to Leland Stanford and became part of the Stanford University Museum. Stanford, as governor, ostensibly supported the prevailing mood in the state, which lobbied for the restriction of Chinese immigration. Facing a labor shortage, the railroad may have turned to recruiting Chinese at the suggestion of Central Pacific construction contractor Charles Crocker’s brother, E.B., a California Supreme Court justice and an attorney for the company. It also generated tremendous wealth for railroad tycoons such as Leland Stanford, a former California governor who ran under an anti-Chinese immigrant platform. 501(c)(3) Federal Tax ID#94-6122446. In speaking as governor Stanford said: “The presence of numbers of that degraded…people [Chinese-Americans] would exercise a deleterious effect upon the superior [white] race….To my mind it is clear that [Asian-American] settlement among us is to be discouraged by every legitimate means. Leland Stanford, the railroad’s president, had advocated for keeping Asians out of the state in his 1862 inaugural address as governor of California. In the first of 5 articles about the Transcontinental Railroad anniversary, descendants of Chinese railroad workers share their hope for the recognition of their ancestors' labor. But the ceremony featured nothing more than a “passing mention of the Chinese.” The five minutes promised to the society never happened. Leland Stanford, president of the Central Pacific, drove a ceremonial golden spike, but a selected crew of Chinese workers laid the last rail. INTRODUCTION. However, if they refused, Crocker threatened that they would not receive their paycheck for June. according to a May 12, 1969, San Francisco Chronicle article, “The Chinese and the Iron Road: Building the Transcontinental Railroad,”, Ghosts of Gold Mountain: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 150 years ago, Chinese railroad workers staged the era's largest labor strike, Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial Project, 150 years ago, Chinese railroad workers risked their lives in pursuit of the American dream, Scholar's search for Chinese railroad workers' history leads to East Coast railways, These artists want to draw the Chinese railroad workers back into history. More from NBC Asian America's series on the Chinese railroad workers: Chris Fuchs is a freelance journalist based in New York. He and his wife founded Stanford University. They know, for instance, that the Chinese boiled water for tea, which helped stave off dysentery and other waterborne illnesses. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders elected to Congress in record numbers are among supporters of a House resolution to recognize the workers and their contributions. One investor, Leland Stanford, a one-time candidate for governor who actively denounced Chinese immigration during his campaign, openly advocated for the immigration of 500,000 more laborers from China. They instead relied on Civil War veterans and East Coast immigrants, among others, according to Chang. They also know the men set up camps along the worksites, didn’t imbibe too much alcohol, worked well together, and sent money back to their families in China. Moana Hotel, Honolulu, c. 1908. Centennial officials had agreed to set aside five minutes of the ceremony for the society to pay homage to the Chinese workers who had helped build the railroad, but whose contributions had been largely glossed over in history. To grow its workforce, the Central Pacific took out an advertisement in January 1865 seeking 5,000 railroad laborers, but only a few hundred whites responded, according to “The Chinese and the Iron Road: Building the Transcontinental Railroad,” a book scheduled for release in April and edited by Gordon H. Chang and Shelley Fisher Fishkin, co-directors of the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford University. The adverse weather, coupled with the abusive treatment from their overseers, as well as the low wages and long hours led to the Chinese becoming increasingly unsettled with their poor work conditions. They were among the 50,000 to 60,000 Chinese living in California who arrived in the early 1850s to work in mining and other sectors of the American West, according to the project. Uncovering the lives of Chinese workers who built Stanford. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. (415) 391-1188 x101 So it wasn’t just an exploitative relationship.”. Strobridge also worried that the whites wouldn’t labor alongside the Chinese, who he thought lacked the brainpower to perform the work as well. I found the references to anti-Chinese sentiments by the politicians to be interesting. Produce and natural resources were among the things that could now be moved more quickly and cheaply from coast to coast. They became experts in drayage, masonry, carpentry and track laying. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Though they have discovered evidence that many workers were able to read and write in Chinese, Stanford researchers have found no letters or journals from them, perhaps because they were destroyed or not preserved during the ensuing social upheaval in China. When Leland Stanford was elected governor of California in 1862, he promised in his inaugural address to protect the state from "the dregs of Asia." After completing the first transcontinental railroad in 1869, Chinese laborers fanned out across the United States to work on at least 71 other rail lines, according to Fishkin. I was beside myself,” Choy, who passed away in 2017, recalled during a 2013 interview. They estimate there were hundreds, possibly more than a thousand. Eventually, they headed to the Nevada silver mines for better wages and the prospect of striking it rich, Hilton Obenzinger, the project’s associate director, said. In this lesson, students will explore the social and economic factors that led to this restriction. How American is that?) In all of these proceedings, the Board found that Stanford’s claims were unpatentable for by Nathan Weiser, 2015. “Who else but Americans could drill 10 tunnels in mountains 30 feet deep in snow?” then-Transportation Secretary John A. Volpe said in his speech, according to a May 12, 1969, San Francisco Chronicle article. But at times Stanford, who was later elected to the U.S. Senate, still resurrected certain anti-Chinese rhetoric when running for or in office, Chang noted. Almost a quarter of a century later, in 1969, amid the backdrop of the civil rights movement, Choy and Chinn found themselves at Promontory Point, Utah, waiting for a moment that never came. The Grant of Endowment. The Central Pacific broke ground on the first transcontinental railroad Jan. 8, 1863, and built east from Sacramento. The Central Pacific began in Sacramento, California working toward the East. Honolulu, 1905. Eventually, he yielded and in 1865 the Central Pacific tested out 50 Chinese laborers. Choy, Chinn and the others gathered at Promontory that day had hoped this would be the moment when the more than 10,000 Chinese who labored for the Central Pacific Railroad finally got their due. But the plan hit opposition amid anti-Chinese sentiment that stemmed from the California Gold Rush. Restaurants near Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park: (0.18 mi) G Street Cafe (0.40 mi) Grange Restaurant & Bar ... Leland Stanford was an active freemason from 1850 to 1855, joining the Prometheus Lodge No. Among the events planned around the sesquicentennial is the 2019 Golden Spike Conference, organized by the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association, which will feature workshops, lectures, tours and a musical by Jason Ma entitled “Gold Mountain.”. Ultimately, the strike only lasted one week. Work of Giants: The Chinese and the Building of the First Transcontinental Railroad, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), 3. Citing public discourse of the period on the presence of the Chinese in America, along with Stanford’s varied views on it, the essay describes how Stanford’s own awareness of the significant contributions of Chinese labor was at odds with the politically expedient anti-Chinese rhetoric he often espoused. They established flourishing Chinatowns throughout the region until many were forced to flee again by anti-Chinese violence and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor inducted Chinese railroad workers into its Hall of Honor. “He didn’t think they were strong enough,” Obenzinger told NBC News in a 2017 interview. email@example.com, © 2020 Chinese Historical Society of America. Not only did the white workers mistreat them; the Chinese were used as scapegoats by union bosses and the railroad administration alike due to their low wages. Volpe’s remarks referenced some of the backbreaking and deadly work done on the Central Pacific by a labor force that was almost 90 percent Chinese, many of them migrants from China, ineligible to become U.S. naturalized citizens under federal law. Anti-Chinese Sentiment and the 1867 Chinese Workers Strike, 5. Even Leland Stanford, president of the Big Four called the Chinese “’dregs’ of Asia,” and “a ‘degraded’ people.” The diligence of Chinese workers created a competitive atmosphere that made white workers work harder, much to their resentment. The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University (“Stanford”) appeals from orders of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) in three interference proceedings between Stanford and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (“CUHK”). And a commemorative postage stamp in their honor has been proposed as well. Chinese workers near an opening of the Summit Tunnel of the Central Pacific Road. “He comes to have open respect for the abilities, the work ethic, the talents and the hard work, the industriousness of the Chinese,” Chang said. Who else but Americans could have laid 10 miles of track in 12 hours?”. In the summer of 1867 Chinese railroad workers in the Sierras found themselves confronted with deep snow drifts and threats of avalanches. He became famous in 1862 when he used an herbal remedy to save Governor Leland Stanford's wife while practicing medicine in Sacramento. He cut off the workers’ supplies and stopped agents from delivering food and provisions to their camps. The Union Pacific Railroad pushed west from Council Bluffs, Iowa (bordering Omaha), where their rails joined existing eastern lines. Among the attendees were Philip P. Choy, president of the San Francisco-based Chinese Historical Society of America, and Thomas W. Chinn, one of its founders. The Hoover Project on China’s Global Sharp Power held an event on How Racist Rhetoric Increases Chinese Overseas Students' Support for Authoritarian Rule with Jennifer Pan, Assistant Professor of Communication and Yiqing Xu, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Stanford University on Friday, November 13, 2020 at 10:00 AM PT. A camp of Chinese workers near Brown's Station of the Central Pacific Railroad. He is one of the 19th-century entrepreneurial tycoons called robber barons. At its highest point, between 10,000 and 15,000 Chinese were working on the Central Pacific, with perhaps as many as 20,000 in total over time. Follow NBC Asian America on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. Date of experience: December 2018. It wasn’t repealed until 1943. Faced with hunger and little hope for improved conditions, the Chinese resumed work on the Sierras. “我將不會僱傭中國人！” 當首席承包商查爾斯•克羅克提議讓總監管人斯特羅布裡奇僱傭華工的時候，他本能的迴應道。即使是利蘭•斯坦福，鐵路“四巨頭”的總裁也稱中國人為”亞洲的‘敗類’“和“低等人“。然而華工的勤勉卻創造了一種競爭的氣氛，使得白人工人也不得不努力工作，這讓他們感到不滿。另外，由於中央太平洋鐵路公司使用炸藥來加速開鑿速度，無數工人在意外爆炸中喪生。當華工還在唐納峰和大雪奮戰的時候，一個反苦力勞工協會在三藩市正式成立。當時，不僅僅是白人工人虐待華工；華工也經常因為工資低廉，被公會聯盟老闆和鐵路官員當做替罪羊。所有這些在1867年達到一個高潮。, 1867年夏天，在內華達山脈修建鐵路的華工發現他們正面臨著很深的雪堆和雪崩的威脅。不利的天氣，被監工以侮辱性的方式對待，再加上低工資和長工時，使得華工對工作條件產生強烈不滿。正是在這個時候，中太平洋鐵路也正在經歷嚴重的勞工短缺問題，還要面臨周邊採礦公司把工人從鐵路上招走的風險。因此，爲了吸引更多的華工，鐵路建設總督查爾斯•克羅克把工資從每月31美元提高到每月35美元。然而，提高工資並沒有安撫華工的情緒。1867年6月25日，一群在內華達山脈東部工作的華工開始罷工。兩天之後，沿內華達山脈兩千名華工如法炮製，加入罷工，要求提高工資並縮短工作時間。, 最終，罷工只持續了一個星期。克羅克解決罷工的方法雖然殘酷，但是卻非常有效：他切斷工人的供給，讓代理商停止向華工們運送食物和生活用品。一個星期之後，克羅克來到工人們中間，堅決表示工資和工作時間沒有商量的餘地，如果工人們立刻回去工作，他們只會受到罰款。但是如果他們拒絕工作，將收不到整個6月份的工資。面對飢餓的困境，以及對工作環境的改善幾乎不抱希望，華工們只好重新開始在內華達山脈修建鐵路。, 965 Clay Street Among those initially against it was the Central Pacific construction supervisor, James H. Strobridge. The Union Pacific began construction of their rail in Omaha, Nebraska working toward the west. Ask Bryan H about Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park. By then, Central Pacific had been reorganized into Southern Pacific, and the tie was taken to the railroad’s San Francisco offices in the Flood Building. Living Style of Chinese Railroad Workers, 7. Historical Essay. In an attempt to attract more Chinese workers, construction supervisor Charles Crocker raised the monthly wages from $31 to $35. Among his siblings were New York State Senator Charles Stanford (1819–1885) and Australian businessman and spiritualist Thomas Welton Stanford (1832–1918). Stanford was initially acclaimed for his frank statements, but later lost support when it was revealed that his Stanford's Central Pacific Railroad was also importing Chinese workers to construct the railroad. Even Leland Stanford, whose anti-Chinese views were central to his gubernatorial campaign, changed his tune. His articles have appeared in Foreign Policy and the Taipei Times and in Chinese on ETToday.net, a popular Taiwanese news website. In addition, countless workers died in accidental blasts without record as the Central Pacific used nitroglycerin to speed up the construction. It was during this time that the Central Pacific Railroad was also struggling with a severe labor shortage and fear of competition from nearby mining fields which threatened to draw Chinese workers away from the railroad. Leland Stanford, a wealthy former California governor who ran under an anti-Chinese immigrant platform, was also president of the Central Pacific. The first transcontinental railroad became a boon to the economy of a nation recovering from a civil war, shaving significant travel time across the continent from several months to about a week. Leland Stanford would soon become embroiled in scandals, including one of the greatest in American history. Stanford Historical Photograph Collection / Stanford University Libraries. 17 in Port Washington, Wisconsin. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 restricted the wave of Chinese immigration that had begun earlier in the century and was the first U.S. law to restrict immigration based on national origin. Even artists, photographers, journalists and academics from China, as well as scholars from Taiwan and those with Stanford’s Chinese Railroad Workers Project, have immersed themselves in the topic. His immigrant ancestor, Thomas Stanford, settled in Charlestown, Massachusetts, in the 17th century. Things that could now be moved more quickly and cheaply from coast to coast accidental blasts without record the. Your blog can not share posts by email of track in 12 hours ”... From the California Gold Rush beside myself, ” he said 1869, the U.S. Department of Labor inducted railroad! Else but Americans could have laid 10 miles of solid granite, York. 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