Anti-asian hate

Anti-Asian Discrimination Can Be Traced Back to Chinese Exclusion Act, Experts Say

Backlash against the immigration of Chinese workers known as "the Celestials" to North Adams, Massachusetts, led to the Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned immigration from China to the U.S. for 60 years

NBC Universal, Inc.

Experts say the discrimination Asian Americans experience today is part of a longer history of racism that has been going on for more than a century.

In fact, a major piece of legislation that made it legal to discriminate against Asians for decades has its roots in Massachusetts.

Nearly 151 years ago, 75 young men from China disembarked from a train in North Adams and left a permanent mark on Asian American history.

The men, referred to as "the Celestials," were hired to replace union workers on strike at Calvin Sampson's shoe factory.

According to historians, these workers were coming from worse conditions in China. They were willing to work longer hours for less money, prompting a shift to the use of Chinese labor.

Labor leaders and unions blamed the Chinese for low pay and unemployment.

The backlash culminated in the Chinese Exclusion Act, signed into law on May 6, 1882. For 60 years, the legislation banned all Chinese immigration to the U.S.

Most Chinese factory workers left North Adams when their contracts ended. Some settled in Boston, establishing the city's Chinatown.

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