HISTORY OF CHINESE IMMIGRATION INTO
A FRONTIER CULTURE IN THE AMERICAN WEST
Rhonda Tintle, PhD (International Relations)
This thesis is a history of Chinese immigration into Arizona Territory, specifically Prescott Arizona and surrounds from 1860-1911. During this period Chinese immigration to the region peaked and then quickly declined for various reasons. This thesis rejects the usual notion that racism was responsible for the dramatic out-migration of Chinese from Arizona after 1900. The welcome influx of Chinese immigrants into the mountains of Northern Arizona transformed the regional culture. The focus of this thesis is not on the traditional discussion of racial inequalities and racism as the arbiter of social class. Prescott’s Chinatown was a hub of activity for Chinese and non-Chinese alike. There was a constant cultural exchange between ethnic groups. This inter-ethnic sharing occurred between non-Chinese residents and Chinese residents despite interference from the Federal government. The non-Chinese residents of Yavapai County, through their continual encouragement and support of the Chinese residents, flouted the prevailing conventions of anti-Chinese racism. Chinese residents owned land and businesses, fought, gambled, sued and were sued, and participated fully in the cultural, social, and legal activities of the region before and after the Exclusionary Acts of the 1880s. The citizens of 19th century Prescott Arizona were fascinated by the Chinese and their culture, as are their 21st century successors.
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