April Book of the Month
The Road to Chinese Exclusion: The Denver Riot, 1880 Election, and Rise of the West
By Liping Zhu
Details: Immigrant history; discrimination & racism
Publisher: University Press of Kansas, 2013
The current rise in anti-Asian hatred and violence is, sadly, nothing new in the Great Plains. Politicians at the state and national level supported the pernicious 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act—which was not repealed until 1943. Ample evidence of this prejudice is provided in Professor Zhu’s detailed account of the Anti-Chinese Riots in Colorado. Chinese immigrants, who crossed the Pacific Ocean and traveled overland to meet the labor demands of Denver’s economic growth, encountered White resentment and nativist rhetoric similar to what we see today. Newspapers, such as the Rocky Mountain News, encouraged bigotry by labeling Chinese “the pest of the Pacific,” and provided support when white mobs ransacked Chinese homes and businesses. By examining the relationship between the anti-Chinese movement and the rise of the West, this book sheds new light on our understanding of racial politics and sectionalism in the post-Reconstruction era, and provides a lesson for us today.
“Zhu’s study of regional politics in the American West leading to the national decision to exclude Chinese from the country is a must-read for those wanting to understand the current immigration dilemma.”—William Wei, author of The Asian American Movement
- Lee, Erika. The Making of Asian America: A History. Simon and Schuster, 2015.
- Lew-Williams, Beth. The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America. Harvard University Press, 2018.
- Merritt, Chris W. The Coming Man From Canton: Chinese Experience in Montana, 1862–1943. University of Nebraska Press, 2017.
- Takaki, Ronald. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. Little, Brown and Compan, 2012.
- Wunder, John R. Gold Mountain Turned to Dust: Essays on the Legal History of the Chinese in the Nineteenth-century American West. University of New Mexico Press, 2018.
- Zhu, Liping. A Chinaman's Chance: The Chinese on the Rocky Mountain Mining Frontier. University Press of Colorado, 1997.
Past Great Plains Books of the Month:
American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains, Dan Flores
A Chorus of Cranes: The Cranes of North America and the World, Paul Johnsgard
Encounter on the Great Plains: Scandinavian Settlers and the Dispossession of Dakota Indians, 1890-1930, Karen Hansen
Wild Again: The Struggle to Save the Black-Footed Ferret, David Jachowski
A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America's First Indian Doctor, Joe Starita
Natives of a Dry Place: Stories of Dakota Before the Oil Boom, Richard Edwards
Towards a Prairie Atonement, Trevor Herriot
Walking the Llano, Shelley Armitage
Barnstorming the Prairie, Jason Weems
Homesteading the Plains, Richard Edwards, Rebecca Wingo, Jacob Friefeld
Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology 1867-2017, Edited by Daniel Simon
This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm, Ted Genoways
Grasses of the Great Plains, By James Stubbendieck, Stephan L. Hatch, Cheryl D. Dunn
The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, Ann Weisgarber
Jewels of the Plains: Wildflowers of the Great Plains Grasslands and Hills by Claude Barr and James Locklear
Converting the Rosebud: Catholic Mission and the Lakota, 1886-1916 by Harvey Markowitz
The Sea of Grass: A Family Tale from the American Heartland by Walter Echo-Hawk
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser.
Great Plains Literature by Linda Ray Pratt
American Trinity: Jefferson, Custer, and the Spirit of the West by Larry Len Peterson
Visions of the Tallgrass: Prairie Photographs by Harvey Payne
kisiskâciwan: Indigenous Voices from Where the River Flows Swiftly by Jesse Rae Archibald-Barber
Pacing Dakota by Thomas Dean Isern
Theodore Roosevelt & Bison Restoration on the Great Plains by Keith Aune and Glenn Plumb
Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn by Catherine Friend
The Chisholm Trail: Joseph McCoy's Great Gamble by James Sherow
First Americans: US Patriotism in Indian Country After World War I by Thomas Grillot
A Thirsty Land by Seamus McGraw
Keetsahnak/Our Missing And Murdered Indigenous Sisters by Kim Anderson, Maria Campbell, and Christi Belcourt, eds.
Perfectly Golden: Adaptable Recipes for Sweet and Simple Treats by Angela Garbacz
Wilber "Bullet" Rogan and the Kansas City Monarchs by Phil S. Dixon
Standing Up to Colonial Power: The Lives of Henry Roe and Elizabeth Cloud by Renya K. Ramirez
Great Plains Politics by Peter Longo
Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese's by Tiffany Midge
Nebraska: Poems by Kwame Dawes
World War II Nebraska by Melissa Amateis