Site of the former Chinatown

 

After hearing about the raids to drive the Chinese workers out of the Fresno area, in late August of 1883 a citizens' committee in Selma gave the Chinese in their town a week's notice to leave. When the deadline passed without much response from the Chinese, a group of about 40 men marched to Chinatown and, according to the Fresno Evening Expositor, "did a large amount of damage."

The raiding party wore sacks over their heads so they wouldn't be identified, and they broke down doors, ransacked the homes, stole money and goods and told the residents to leave town. A smaller group began marching the Chinese toward Fresno, but they were stopped just outside of town by the Sheriff and a posse. Eleven of the mob were arrested for rioting and theft, and the Chinese were returned to their homes.

None of the money or goods were ever recovered by the Chinese, but they were able to eventually rebuild their community. 

A jury later found the leader of the mob guilty of rioting. He received a small fine. The remainder of those who were charged pled guilty and also were given a fine.

Sources: McDannold, Pfaelzer, Sandmeyer, Shumsky, local newspapers

About this site: The 1891 Sanborn Fire Insurance map for Selam shows a small group of Chinese businesses and dwellings along the railroad below McCall Avenue. The street names and locations have not changed since that time. Today the site is a vacant lot.

Selma

© 2020 Tim Greyhavens. All rights reserved.

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