Zhongwen - Traditional Chinese Characters
Several historians have commented that "ropes" are mentioned in multiple 19th century guidebook accounts describing the Chinese workers suspended during the construction of Cape Horn, but state that there is no mention of "baskets" :
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> What a fabulous website! I'm an author, working on a book aboutyoung
> people — children and teens — in US history. I have read in surveys that
> some of the Chinese workers on the [Central Pacific] were quite young — in their
> teens, but I don't have any names or stories. Can you helpme find any
> account of a young Chinese railroad worker of the time? Also, any
> photos of Chinese railroad workers that might have depicted youthful
> workers among the crews? All help greatly appreciated!
> ... A question: Who really knows the most about the constructionof the Central
> Pacific Spur. I found a section in Maxine Hong Kingston's book,,
> describing her grandfather's work as a "basket man" suspended byropes over
> sheer cliff faces, planting explosives, lighting fuses and then scramblingup
> the rope before the explosion. He says that many of these workerswere 15
> year old boys, chosen because they were light enough to be held bythe wicker
> baskets, and because they were agile. How to document this? Where would
> names, ages, of workers, other accounts of these dramatic scenesbe? One
> special place they worked was at Cape Horn Passage, in the fall of1865.
> ... Incidentally, the best account of the "men" that I've
> read is in Maxine Hong Kingston's "China Men" in the chapter abouther
> grandfather entitled, "The Grandfather of the Sierra Nevada Mountains."The
> event itself — people in wicker baskets being raisedand lowered along a cliff
> face — is so dramatic that it's hard to believe someonedidn't photograph it.
> If you ever hear of such a photo, I'd be very interested.
> Can you help me?
Another painting (by the artist Jake Lee) produced for Kan's Restaurantin San Francisco, "depicting the wicker baskets used by coolies on theCentral Pacific Railroad (Kem Lee Studio, San Francisco)" can be foundin a series of un-numbered pages of illustrations between pages 94 and95 of Howard, Robert West. "The Great Iron Trail: The Storyof the First Transcontinental Railroad" New York, G. P. Putnam'sSons, 1962. Opposite the reproduction of this painting is also aphotograph of Secrettown trestle with Chinese construction workers (SouthernPacific Historical Collection).The beautiful, if not completely historically accurate, Jake Lee watercolorpaintingsweremissingforyearsaftertheChinese restaurant in San Francisco was closed, but have been rescued, rediscovered,andmost were acquiredbythe .
CHINESE-AMERICAN CONTRIBUTION TO …
> ... [Regarding] Chinese hanging from baskets to
> build the track bed around Cape Horn. I was an invited guest at the
> rededication of Cape Horn, in the company of the retired State
> Archeologist, a specialist in the history of the area, and anotherwell
> known RR history expert. Both stated that there is no known evidenceto
> support the fact that the Chinese were hanging from baskets duringthe
> construction of the RR. Some think it is a fanciful story createdby a
> reporter to increase readership.
CHINESE-AMERICAN CONTRIBUTION TO ..
hen did the Chinese arrive in America? If the accounts of the Chinese Buddhist monk , who visited a land he called , are anything to go by, then in 450 AD, the Chinese traveled along what can only be the West Coast of America, southward from present-day British Columbia, to Baja California. If you believe in the theories of Gavin Menzies as posited in his book, , or Henriette Mertz (1953), or the (who served on the US North Pacific Surveying Expedition in 1871), or Charles Godfrey Leland (1824-1903), or Sinologist Karl Friedrich Neumann (1793-1870), the Chinese have been in the Americas for centuries, perhaps even millennia, long before the first European settlers arrived. There is also genetic evidence to support this.*
Anti-Chinese USA - racism and discrimination from the onset
The California Supreme Court upholds a decision approving land condemnations and the construction of the new Union Station at the site of Los Angeles historic Chinatown. Its Chinese residents are left with no recourse, because they have never been allowed to own any of the properties in Chinatown. They are evicted and forced to start over elsewhere with little or no compensation. Chinatown is razed to the ground.