Chinese American Museum commemorates the anniversary of the Chinese Massacre of 1871.
Monday marks the 145th anniversary of the Chinese massacre of 1871, one of the worst mass lynchings in U.S. history. On October 24, 1871, racially motivated riots resulted in the massacre of 19 Chinese men and boys in the streets of downtown Los Angeles — one of the darkest chapters in the city's history.
On the evening of October 24, 1871, several white policemen entered Chinatown to break up an argument between members of rival Chinese tongs. Whether by anger or accident, a white man was shot to death. Shortly thereafter, a mob of 500 entered Chinatown and assaulted every Chinese person they saw.
Eleven white men, including Sheriff James Burns and prominent Los Angeleno Robert Widney, attempted to protect the Chinese and stop the violence, but they were also attacked. After five hours, the vigilantes had tortured and hanged 19 Chinese men and boys, and looted Chinese homes and businesses.
The incident drew national attention and provoked a grand jury investigation. Seven men were held responsible and convicted for the riots, but only one actually served any jail time.
On Monday in Los Angeles, the Chinese American Museum will join with other community organizations and local leaders for a vigil observing the anniversary of the Chinese Massacre of 1871.