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Monday, Sept. 15, 2008

Chinese Milwaukee (Arcadia)

by David B. Holmes and Wenbin Yuan

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  Who knew that in 1889 an anti-Chinese riot broke out in Milwaukee after a pair of laundry workers were arrested for "enticing" adolescent white girls for "immoral purposes"? It's just one of the many interesting stories collected in Chinese Milwaukee, a slim but photo-packed account of Chinese Americans in the city from the 1870s through the present. Their numbers in the early years were never large. Until the middle of World War II, tough immigration laws intended to limit the number of Chinese arrivals succeeded in their purpose. Despite bigotry, the little community increased in size and contributed in many ways beyond the now-ubiquitous Chinese restaurants. According to the authors, 95% of the ginseng produced in the United States is grown in Wisconsin. Who knew?