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By Charlotte Brooks

Among the early 1900s and the past due Nineteen Fifties, the attitudes of white Californians towards their Asian American pals advanced from outright hostility to relative recognition. Charlotte Brooks examines this change in the course of the lens of California’s city housing markets, arguing that the perceived foreignness of Asian american citizens, which at the beginning stranded them in segregated components, ultimately facilitated their integration into neighborhoods that defied different minorities.Against the backdrop of chilly battle efforts to win Asian hearts and minds, whites who observed little distinction among Asians and Asian americans more and more recommended the latter group’s entry to middle-class lifestyles and the residential parts that went with it. yet as they remodeled Asian americans right into a “model minority,” whites purposefully overlooked the lengthy backstory of chinese language and jap american citizens’ early and principally failed makes an attempt to take part in private and non-private housing courses. As Brooks tells this multifaceted tale, she attracts on a extensive diversity of resources in a number of languages, giving voice to an array of neighborhood leaders, reporters, activists, and homeowners—and insightfully conveying the complexity of racialized housing in a multiracial society.

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Additional resources for Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends: Asian Americans, Housing, and the Transformation of Urban California (Historical Studies of Urban America)

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During the early nineteenth century, a number of Northern states that established universal white male suffrage simultaneously revoked many of the rights of black men, including the franchise. When northwestern territories, such as Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, became states, their constitutions barred free blacks from en- Chinatown: America’s First Segregated Neighborhood 17 tering at all. 15 California entered the Union as a free state, but its embrace of “free labor” involved the kind of racial suppression and exclusion evident elsewhere in the nation.

We did everything in that one room: sleep, eat, and sit,” she recalled. “We had a small three-ring burner for cooking. 43 Regardless, as the population of couples with children grew during the 1910s and 1920s, Chinese Americans who hoped to enlarge Chinatown or live outside it faced staunch resistance. 26 Chapter One national segregation, local echoes During the 1910s and 1920s, the racial segregation of African Americans became as common in Northern cities as the restriction of Chinese Americans in San Francisco.

The white Americans who migrated to California and governed it believed the nation’s Manifest Destiny was to conquer the continent for white civilization. The fluidity of Far West society also played a role in shaping white attitudes about nonwhites. Eric Foner contends that “where the social order was least stratified—as in the frontier states [like] California . . legal discrimination was most severe,” and not just against blacks. ” California’s first constitution even denied African Americans and American Indians the right to vote or to testify against whites in court.

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