It is no surprise that the early Chinese immigrants in the middle 19th century arrived and mostly settled on the west coast and that some moved toward the Rocky mountains when Chinese were recruited to work on the building of the transcontinental railroad in the mid 1860s. What is not so easy for many to comprehend is why and how small numbers of Chinese gravitated to the Deep South, especially Mississippi and Georgia, by the 1870s.
|Southern solution for Chinese :problem'|
|New York Times, Aug. 17, 1869|
|May 21, 1869|
|1874. Chinese coming to Savannah.|
In addition, there were some objections among townspeople about bringing Chinese. Fears that hordes of Chinese would overrun communities arose such that Augusta recruiters tried to reassure residents that there were "not more than thirty Chinamen there."
|Augusta Chronicle, 1886|
Blacks, who were likely to be displaced by Chinese, showed both curiosity and hostility toward these foreigners when they first arrived in their Chinese attire, queues, and strange sounding language. An editorial in a Vicksburg, Mississippi paper reflecting on the expulsion of Chinese from California in the 1880s. observed that if negroes are duped to make an exodus to the frozen North, the South will have the Chinese to replace them.
However, once Chinese came to the South, they did not take well to plantation work in the fields, and generally preferred to open their own businesses, mostly grocery general stores and hand laundries. However, they were not well accepted and were sometimes victimized by assaults and robberies. In 1900 whites in Rosedale, Mississippi, ordered Chinese merchants to leave the country within five days, leading the Chinese to seek a meeting with the state governor who promised to protect their rights.