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Sweet Cakes, Long Journey

The Chinatowns of Portland, Oregon

by Marie Rose Wong

Publication Year: 2004

Drawing on immigration and other records, Wong chronicles the history of Portland’s Chinatowns from their early beginnings in the 1850s until the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in the 1940s. She clarifies the role that the early Chinese immigrants played in determining their own community destiny and the development of their Chinatown in urban form and vernacular architectural expression.

Published by: University of Washington Press


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xviii

"My interest in researching Chinese American history and Chinatowns began in earnest in 1988, seven years after the death of my father. I left my Midwest home for the West Coast many years before he died, partially to find employment as a city planner and also to..."

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pp. xix-2

"This book has been a labor of love from the beginning, and I have been most fortunate to receive the help, guidance, and support of so many people who had a genuine interest in this research."

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pp. 3-8

"The current Chinatown of Portland, Oregon, is a modest district within the downtown, and most people are not even aware that such an area exists. Chinatown lies west of the Willamette River and covers a rectangular area of ten blocks. Its borders are Glisan..."

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1. The Nineteenth-Century American City

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pp. 9-28

"In the mid-nineteenth century, when significant numbers of Chinese began coming to America, the United States was already undergoing massive transformation through the economic growth of its cities. Most significant, the substantial population of unskilled..."

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2. The Chinese Presence in Oregon

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pp. 29-74

"Before the presence of Chinese immigrants had reached the forefront of American political discourse in the 1870s, their rights as alien residents were being discussed in Oregon, two years before the Territory achieved statehood in 1859. Specifically, in 1857,..."

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3. Enforcement of Chinese Exclusion in Oregon

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pp. 75-148

"Although the federal government had committed itself to a policy of restricting Chinese immigration through exclusion laws, there is overwhelming evidence to indicate that because legislation was enacted so quickly, there was little time to assemble the..."

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4. Peopling the Chinese Community of Oregon

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pp. 149-203

"During the years of exclusion, Chinese Americans were more closely identified with the western United States, where they were recorded by local and federal authorities in both rural and urban settings. East Coast cities and farms received most of the..."

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5. This Place Called Chinatown

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pp. 204-262

"With the population of the Chinese rapidly increasing, particularly in the early years of their settlement in Oregon, Portland society turned its focus from their sheer numbers to their areas of residence within the city. Portland's downtown..."

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Epilogue: Ghettos, Enclaves, and Non-Claves

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pp. 263-270

"Most accounts of the morphological development of urban American Chinatowns identify them as ghettos, a term that connotes the slumlike districts inhabited by a particular minority group. Historically, those areas with a concentrated..."

Appendix: Occupations of Portland, Oregon's Chinese, 1860-1910

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pp. 271-274


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pp. 275-310


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pp. 311-322


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pp. 323-338

E-ISBN-13: 9780295801988
E-ISBN-10: 0295801980
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295983837
Print-ISBN-10: 0295983833

Publication Year: 2004

OCLC Number: 742514421
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Sweet Cakes, Long Journey

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Portland (Or.) -- Race relations.
  • Portland (Or.) -- History.
  • Chinatown (Portland, Or.) -- History.
  • Chinese Americans -- Oregon -- Portland -- Social conditions.
  • Chinese Americans -- Oregon -- Portland -- History.
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