8/20/18

Chinese in the South. 2: Contract Workers or Coolies?

The Charleston Daily News in South Carolina published an editorial on July 13, 1869, that argued in favor of bringing over 1,000 Chinese, shortly after the golden spike was laid for the completion of the transcontinental railroad in Utah, and which left thousands of Chinese railroad workers without work



 On July 28, 1869, The Charleston Daily News in South Carolina reported that a Memphis newspaper announced that the Arkansas River Immigration Company was bringing 1,000 Chinese "with their rat-traps and pigtails,"  from China to work in cotton fields.  "They will be the best and most reliable laboring class, and will add greatly to the development of our resources, and the restoration of our lands, which, since the war, have been relapsing into their original wild state."

A Baltimore newspaper refuted the claim that coolies were being recruited,  pointing out that the Chinese were actually contract workers, and not indentured workers or coolies, because indentured servants were essentially slaves, which America, in the light of the recent end of black slavery, found unacceptable.

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