Chinese Exclusion

One group that faced a high degree of discrimination on a state and national level was the Chinese. The typed page below is a draft of a story by Frank Bird Linderman describing the misfortunes of Yong Sing, a Chinese restaurant owner in Marysville, Montana.  Yong Sing's restaurant goes under when the local miners boycott his business. Linderman's story reflects real tension between Montana's immigrant communities. In the late-1890s, Butte's community of Irish miners conducted a boycott against the city's Chinese businesses amidst an economic downturn. This act reflected the hardships shared by many amongst the working classes.

At the government level, the Chinese faced legislation such as the alien land acts passed by many western states in the early-1920s. Montana's law and others like it stated that individuals not eligible for citizenship could not own or lease land. Below is the first page of a case against Emil Lehsou and Sam Gah. Lehsou and Gah were accused of violating the act by leasing farm land to several Asian immigrants. Such discrimination played a role in the decline in Chinese population in Montana reflected by the directory listings below from 1915 and 1925. Note the disappearance of the Chinese restaurant section and the name change of the restaurant at 137 Front Street. The listing changes from Sam Yong in 1915 to Sam's Cafe in 1925.