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Cypress/West Oakland Historical Archaeology Project

Introduction | Part I | Part II |Part III |Part IV |Appendixes & Reports

~ Chapter 8 Detail ~

Chapter 8 artifacts

Chinese immigrants exploited a lucrative niche providing meals and clean laundry to the primarily male population of the California Gold Rush. These laundry-related artifacts were recovered from the Sing Lee Laundry in Stockton, California, one of several laundries excavated by archaeologists in the past two decades. Historical archaeology plays a major role in finding and telling the stories of the Chinese immigrants who helped make Oakland and California what they are today. Archaeology provides a positive counterpoint to the often-racist musings contained in newspaper accounts and the careless chronicling of Chinese individuals by bureaucrats in the past that contributes to their anonymity. In this chapter we focus on people already known to Chinese American historians but not to the general public: the Ah-Tye family and Lew Hing. We have also brought to light a group of anonymous Chinese laundry workers, as well as a young Asian male who disappeared under suspicious circumstances.

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