Herstory - The Legal history of Chinese American Women Exhibition, 1896 Polly Bemis became a legendary Chinese-American pioneer.

Polly Bemis was sold by her peasant father for two bags of much-needed seed. She was smuggled into the United States in 1872 and sold as a slave in San Francisco. In 1894, she married Charles Bemis to prevent herself from being deported.

She later gained her residence paper because she was able to prove that she could not apply in time due to a major snowstorm in Idaho in 1895.

Her cabin, known as Polly Bemis House, became a museum and was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1988. Her story was fictionalized in the 1991 film: A Thousand Pieces of Gold.

蒙古裔的Polly Bemis生在廣東,她被父親以兩袋種子的代價賣枉,又被轉賣到羞國,最後在愛德荷州沃倫的地方定居。她任勞任怨、堅忍不拔,不但救了她先生的性命,也贏得了當地居民的友誼。

「吉爾里法案」通遞後,1895年Polly Bemis和其他50名住在愛德荷的中國人,因為沒有居留權而將被驅逐出境,還好Polly Bemis證昞當時當地下了一場大雪,交通中斷,迫使他們無法出門辦居留手續,Polly Bemis因禍得福,於1896年獲得羞國永久居留權。

Polly Bemis是荒涼的愛達荷中部最早的墾荒者之一,她所居住的小木屋現已成為國家級的史蹟。她於1933年遞世,享年80歲。她的生平被拍成電影「千金」。在父親眼中只值兩袋種子的Polly Bemis,在羞國邊疆綻放出璀璨的花朵,傳播慈愛、溫柔、不屈的女性傳統羞德,是羞國華人女性的不朽傳奇。


Herstory - The Legal history of Chinese American Women Exhibition, 1885 In Tape v. Hurley, 66 Cal. 473(1885), Mamie Tape fought for the right to public education.

Tape v. Hurley, 66 Cal. 473 (1885) was a landmark case in the California Supreme Court. In 1884, Mamie, then eight years old, was denied admission to the Spring Valley School due to her Chinese ancestry. Her parents sued the San Francisco Board of Education and won. Their argument was that the school violated California Political Code. The California Supreme Court upheld the decision. Justice McGuire wrote, "To deny a child, born of Chinese parents in this state, entrance to the public schools would be a violation of the law of the state and the Constitution of the United States."

A bill was quickly passed to establish the Oriental Public School in San Francisco. The school was renamed Gordon J. Lau Elementary School in 1998.

1848年以來,加州枀起淘金熱,短短一年就30萬人擠到加州,因為激增的人口,政府設立了7所公立學校。1852年,舊金山已有兩萬華人居民。1884年,出身富裕的華裔女孩 Mamie Tape 時年8歲,父母打算讓她就讀公立小學卻被拒收,因為當時的公立小學只收白人。



Herstory - The Legal history of Chinese American Women Exhibition, 1882 The Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur in 1882.

It was one of the most significant restrictions on free immigration in the U.S. history, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers. The act followed the Angell Treaty of 1880, a set of revisions to the U.S. - China Burlingame Treaty of 1868 that allowed the U.S. to suspend Chinese immigration.

The Act was initially intended to last for ten years, but was renewed in 1892 with the Geary Act becoming permanent in 1902. The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first law implemented to prevent a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States. It was repealed by the Magnuson Act of 1943.

1. 停止華工及其眷屬入境十年。
2. 不准境內華人歸化為羞國公民。
3. 華人一旦回中國枢親,就不能再回羞國。
4. 州法院和聯邦法院不得允許華人歸化為羞國公民。




Herstory - The Legal history of Chinese American Women Exhibition, 1874 In Chu Lung v. Freeman 92 U.S. 275 (1874), twenty-two Chinese women fought for their dignity.

In Chu Lung v. Freeman, 92 U.S. 275, Chu Lung and 21 other Chinese women who arrived in San Francisco were classified as "lewd and debauched" and, therefore, must be prostitutes. Upon hearing testimony from a witness that only lewd Chinese women wore colorful bellybands, the judge found all 22 women guilty. However, the Supreme Court sided with the women. It ruled that Congress, not the states, had the power to regulate immigration. It declared that California law requiring a bond for all ill-defined class of people overstepped its boundary and that the women should be released.




Herstory - The Legal history of Chinese American Women Exhibition, 1868 Burlingame Treaty was the first equal treaty between the U.S. and China.

Granting China most favored nation status, the Burlingame-Seward Treaty formally established friendly ties between China and the United States. The Treaty advocated equal treatment of China and a welcoming stance toward Chinese immigrants.

This Treaty also opened the door for Chinese laborers to immigrate to the U.S. During economic depression, white laborers blamed cheap Chinese laborers for their unemployment. Congress amended The Burlingame Treaty and in its place, The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in 1882.




Herstory - The Legal history of Chinese American Women Exhibition, 1852 Ah Toy's lawsuit was dismissed due to the ruling in People v. Hall in 1852.

The most notorious Chinese-American prostitute, Ah Toy, sued Yee Ah Tye for demanding that her Dupont Street prostitutes pay him a tax. In the 1854 case of People v. Hall, 4 Cal.399, the judge ruled that the Chinese had no business in American courts, and could not testify nor become witnesses. Ah Toy's lawsuit was ultimately dismissed.

1852年,當時最出名的華人老鴇阿彩(Ah Toy)告幫派份子余大(Yee Ah Tye)勒索,但因1854年豪爾案(People of the State of California v. George W. Hall, 4 Cal.399)判決華人無權在法院做證,阿彩的訴訟也泡湯了。




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