The president of the historical society in Isleton, California has inherited a two-story wooden building with tin sides that she believes once housed a Chinese Tong.
In the late 1800s, Chinese immigrants risked all to start a new life in America. But Americans who feared losing jobs to the new, cheap labor turned the land of opportunity hostile. Chinatowns burned, ethnic slurs flew and Congress prohibited Chinese laborers from entering or working in the country.
For outcast Chinese, Tongs were places of protection and solidarity during this time of chaos, where they could worship, study and settle legal disputes peacefully.
In the newspapers, the Tongs were secretive centers of gangland warfare, opium deals and gambling.
Was there a Tong operating inside Isleton’s once-booming Chinatown? If so, what happened there?
History Detectives examines a colorful building and the sometimes secretive societies of the Chinese immigrant past.
- Related Investigation Special Agent Five How did this tale of robbery and murder help FBI director J. Edgar Hoover consolidate his power?
- Related Investigation McKinley Casket Flag Did this flag once drape the casket of President William McKinley?
- Also with Gwen Wright Face Jug What does this ceramic face reveal about the Middle Passage and a captive people’s search for identity?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Shippen Golf Club Was this the golf club used by John Shippen when he made sporting history in the 1896 U.S. Open?
- Also in this episode Red Hand Flag Is this peculiar flag one that African-American soldiers marched under in the war to end all wars?
- Also in Season 6 Josh White Guitar What role did this guitar play in the transformation of the music industry in the 1960's?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.