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Weaverville Chinese family
Five Views: An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California



Early Contacts
current topic 1890s

Historic Sites
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A History of Chinese Americans in California:
THE 1890s

The Gay Nineties were not carefree years for Chinese Americans or their relatives in China. In 1892, Congress passed the Geary Act, which extended the Chinese Exclusion Law of 1882 for another 10 years, and also added the requirement that all Chinese living in the United States obtain certificates of residence. Insufficient effort was made to explain this requirement to people whose understanding of English was limited, nor was the regulation sufficiently publicized. Raids by immigration authorities were conducted on various Chinese American communities, and people without residence certificates were held for [110]

Fires and racial violence forced many Chinese Americans to leave the countryside, and may have encouraged some of them to return to China, In 1893 alone, most buildings of the second Chinese American community in Riverside were destroyed by fire. [111] Five hundred Chinese American men were forced by terrorists to leave their jobs in nurseries and vineyards around Fresno. [112] There were anti-Chinese riots in Redlands, San Bernardino County, by 400 Whites, and the National Guard had to be called in. [113] The final result of discriminatory laws and racial violence during the 1880s was a 37% decrease in California's Chinese American population. [114]

The Chinese American Cemetery in Nevada City, Nevada County, is an important historic site of the 1890s. Among all segregated cemeteries that were once so numerous throughout California (since Chinese Americans were not allowed to be buried in White cemeteries), the Nevada City Chinese American Cemetery is one of the few which still has a burner for paper money and other offerings, and parts of its original fence and gate. It is the only one with a monument to a single individual, who died in 1891 and who must have been quite wealthy and influential. The name on the monument has been defaced by vandals. The size and elaborateness of the monument indicates that this was not intended as a temporary burial site, but as a permanent resting place for the deceased.

Weaverville Chinese American family
Weaverville Chinese American family, Trinity County [circa 1890]

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