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小城故事多:唐人街百年兴衰看华人的命运

热度 5已有 1218 次阅读2017-9-22 21:00 |个人分类:史海拾贝|系统分类:海外生活| 华人历史

白露为霜注2017825日是个重要的日子。在加州北湾消失了半个多世纪之后,客运火车又回来了,铁路再次将马林县的圣拉菲尔(San Rafeal)到索诺玛县的圣塔罗莎(Santa Rosa)之间的一系列城镇联结起来。环保主义者为之雀跃,因为这为人们减少汽车的使用提供了一种选项。火车有多少实用还需要时间的验证。我对这条被称为SMART线的火车感兴趣更多是怀旧,因为这条铁路的前身有一段是中国人造的。我们的前辈不但给北湾留下了铁路,还为圣塔罗莎留下了一个小小的唐人街,引出故事好长,好长。


本文是小宝14岁时为本地的一家英文报纸写的专栏,讲述一段很少有人知道的华人血泪和奋斗史。这个史诗般的故事发生在北湾的索诺玛县,但又具有相当的普遍性,可以说是100多年来华人命运的写照。川普时代种族问题、移民问题、仇恨组织等重新成为人们辩论的焦点,在这个时候将这篇文章翻译成中文是有意义的。


 

Santa Rosa唐人街的故事

(上篇)


湾区外围的索诺玛当然不是纽波特港(Newport Harbor)或拉古纳海滩(Laguna Beach)。北湾以外很少人听说过我们这个古色古香的小角落,绵延起伏的丘陵,看不到头的葡萄园,以及新鲜轻松的空气。但除了不可否认的自然风光之外,本县与湾区其他社区不大一样的地方是它的历史,与华人历史交织在一起的一个丰富绵长的故事。


你知道小城圣塔罗莎(Santa Rosa)曾经有过唐人街吗? 十九世纪中期淘金热后,中国人涌入美国,希望在传说中的“金山”发财致富。他们的勤勉努力,在许多不同的职业上有出色的表现。在门多西诺(Mendocino),中国劳工曾经是伐木工人。在马林(Marin),他们是打鱼捉虾的好手。在索诺玛县,华人成为今天仍然蓬勃发展的酿酒业的最早的工人。


1857年,中国劳工受雇于号称是加州葡萄酒业之父的古斯顿·哈拉西(Count Agoston Haraszthy),在索诺玛的Buena Vista葡萄园中做工(白露为霜注:Buena Vista酒庄是加州最老的酒庄之一,现在还在运营中)。他们暴破并挖掘了用于储存葡萄酒的地窖,在酒厂从事各种工作像注酒,加软木塞,给酒瓶绕铁线等工作。有人估计,如果没有中国劳工,加州葡萄酒业将会被延迟几十年时间因为中国人承担了许多白人不愿意做的事情。


华人不仅活跃于葡萄种植业,他们还参与建设了最终从帕塔鲁(Petaluma)到海尔斯堡(Healdsburg)的铁路上,成功地将“乡下人”连接到外部世界。


1868年,Frederick Bee的旧金山和洪堡湾公司(San Francisco and Humboldt Bay Co)使用几乎是清一色的中国劳工从帕塔鲁往北建造路基一直到离圣塔罗莎三英哩的地方。后来工程停了下来,因为他的资金遇上了问题。1870年,Peter Donahue上校买下了Frederick Bee的利益并用爱尔兰裔的劳工完成了中国人建造的路基。


1871年,正当Donahue的人正在朝向海尔斯堡方向建设时,加州太平公司(Cal Pacific)的大多为中国劳工的队伍也在建造一条前往同一目的地的平行路基。中国人发现自己处在铁路公司间的激烈搏斗的中心:他们和爱尔兰人竞相完成这条铁路。中国人很快就以惊人的每天一英里的速度向前推进。 这是一个很不同寻常的场景。圣塔罗莎人都跑出来观看,一边投下赌注,一边加油欢呼,而爱尔兰人和中国人齐头并进,并相互辱骂和互丢土块 (白露为霜注:中国人和爱尔兰人进入美国的时间差不多,因为从事的职业接近、竞争激烈而变成了死对头)
 

这种疯狂没有持续很长时间。最终旧金山的大佬们介入,他们给了Donahue无法拒绝的好价钱。 加州太平洋公司购买了Donahue的公司,并获得了完成该项目的权利。Donahue很照顾自己的员工,坚持要由他们完成这个项目。加州太平洋公司的中国人呢?他们被解雇了。


一些失去工作的中国铁路工人留在圣塔罗莎,并聚居形成为唐人街。时间是1871年:圣塔罗莎唐人街的元年。在随后的几年中索诺马县的中国人数量有大幅增长。大多数人被雇佣为家庭佣工,如厨师或仆人,或在家庭洗衣店工作。很显然当时洗衣业务相当不错。由于中国洗衣店不断流出水来,圣塔罗莎的二街和Main Street(现在的圣塔罗莎大道)的角落被称为“城镇的下水道”(town dump)


好景不常18世纪80年代后经济开始恶化。许多白人认为“中国佬”(Chinamen)抢走了他们的饭碗,危及他们的生存机会。1882年联邦政府颁布了“排华法”(Chinese Exclusion Act)– 一个针对中国人的歧视性的恶法,禁止他们移民到美国或成为美国公民。


索诺马县的反华情绪也很高涨。1886年反华人联盟(Anti-Chinese League)成立,其目的就是将中国人赶出圣塔罗莎。联盟变着法儿(只是没有达到直接的暴力)让中国人的日子难过。他们拆毁中国人的房屋,突击他们的鸦片店,迫使他们的铺面停业。联盟甚至在圣塔罗莎的Mendocino大道挂上横幅宣布:“中国佬必须滚。我们说到做到!”(The Chinese Must Go; We Mean Strictly Business!)。几个月下来,华人的数量从600人跌到大约100人左右。


但是反华人联盟的策略并不是完全成功的。中国人一次次地表现出他们是坚韧而顽强的一群。他们被推搡、被打倒,但有些人仍然是疯狂或顽固的留下来。
 

1886年的大抵制阻碍了唐人街的发展,但宣布它的死亡的报告却被夸大了。事实上,圣罗莎的唐人街最终存在了近一个世纪,经历了多个反华法令,1906年的大地震,大萧条和两次世界大战。然而,就当大家开始相信唐人街几乎是不死的,它却意外地消失在历史的迷雾中。

 

(下篇)


虽然唐人街近一个世纪以来一直位处圣塔罗莎的市中心,但主流媒体基本上将其忽略。唐人街偶尔出现在市议会的议事日程上,多数是由于有人抱怨它成为公众滋扰(public nuisance)。如果不是两位不同寻常的美籍华人,圣塔罗莎唐人街的历史可能会永远不为人所知。


Song Wong Bourbeau出生于唐人街一个出名的家庭。她的祖父Jam Poy是“谨记”(Jam Kee)餐厅的创办人,谨记是圣塔罗莎历史上持续时间最长的餐馆之一。她的父亲Tom Wing是一名劳工承包商和一家中国寄宿家庭的经营者,被人戏称为“唐人街市长”。


Song Wong可能是第一个经历过索诺玛县公立学校的中国女孩,忍受了多年的公然歧视和虐待。她父亲不得不送她去第四街上的Fremont Grammar School(现在是Santa Rosa Middle),放学后要接她,因为她经常受到其他孩子的威胁或殴打。Song Wong在索诺马县博物馆的采访中回忆道:“我有很长的头发,他们会把它绑在任何可以绑的东西上,把头发放在墨水瓶里”。


当时的唐人街由位于圣罗莎大街和D街之间的第二街上的木制建筑组成。这是一个约100人的自给自足的社区。Song Wong记忆到:“我们吃得东西都是自己种植饲养,鸡、兔子和鸽子。如果我们想要什么东西,我们就去后院拿,我们有了自己的花园。”


她于20世纪20年代与高中同学Charles Bourbeau结婚。由于加州反异族通婚法(anti-miscegenation)禁止白人与“蒙古人”(白露为霜注:人种学上将东亚人包括华人称为“蒙古人”)之间的婚姻关系,他们的婚姻在1948年之前甚至是非法的。


尽管有诸多困难,Song Wong在圣塔罗莎社区学院(SRJC)和斯坦福大学完成自己的学业(白露为霜注:当时斯坦福大学也没有那么难进)。她后来成为本地有名的女商人,慷慨的慈善家,积极参与社区活动,并在1985年获得由American Legion Auxiliary颁发的“加州年度最佳女子奖”。
 

现在我们快进到20世纪30年代,一个新家庭搬进了圣塔罗莎唐人街:余家(Yee family)。他们在1937年开了“中国咖啡”(The China Café),后来又在第二次世界大战的第一周开了“双龙饭店”。业主的孩子阿尔伯特·余(Albert Yee)记得,在二战前的圣塔罗莎长大是痛苦的,充满了嘲讽挑衅以及学生和老师的公开歧视。他后来获得心理学博士学位并成为中国和日本问题的专家。今天,在余博士在圣塔罗莎还有一条以他命名的街道。


到了20世纪30年代,唐人街的人口已经减少到大约30位左右老先生。他们白天坐在门廊下晒太阳,晚上玩玩彩票。淘金热一代的华人正在褪色,他们被年轻一代所取代。


第二次世界大战是华裔美国人的真正转折点。许多人觉得他们第一次有可能被美国社会所接受。 他们在军队服役,购买战争债卷,在为生产军火的工厂工作,给予国家热情的支持。在1940年至1945年间,美国有超过13,000名华人,近22%的华人成年男性参军。“亲戚朋友们在海外作战,我们都很精通地理。附近的海军和陆军飞行学校将二战带入了我们的门口。”余博士在他的自传“Yeee-Hah!”中回忆道。


唐人街的居民和余的叔叔哈利·李在巴顿将军驻扎在欧洲的第三军服役。他作为救护车驾驶员因为救助受伤人员获得了一枚奖章。余博士在他的自传里写道:“寄回家的信件和照片显示他和白人战友都像兄弟一样紧密。”


19431217日,“排华法”被悄然废除,部分是由于华裔美国人的爱国表现,部分是由于地缘政治考虑(中美在对日作战上是盟友)。战争结束回来的哈利·李完全变了个人。他不想再回到唐人街了。哈利试图用他的军队储蓄购买一家杂货店,但他最终没有成功因为邻居不想一位亚裔住住在他们中间,即使他是名退伍军人。
 

那时候,唐人街遇上了大麻烦。大多数居民都是一辈子的单身汉,只有10个左右孩子。除了人口结构问题外,第二次世界大战期间的征兵加速了美国西部一度流行的唐人街的消亡。余博士解释到:“华人越来越多地接触到白人,他们并充分利用了接受教育机会,”(白露为霜注:参加二战的老兵可以通过GI Bill免费上大学,大多数华人老兵利用了这一用生命换来的机会)


唐人街的确切死亡日期很难确定,但可以肯定的是,圣塔罗莎的唐人街在5060年代消失了。Song Wong和丈夫继续经营很有人气的谨记餐厅,直到1988年。如今,唯一可以找到“逝去”的唐人街痕迹的地方是在圣塔罗莎历史公墓(白露为上注:后来改名为Chanate历史公墓),内葬有80多位华人。没有墓碑,只有一个个印有数字的混凝土块。


这是一个忧伤的故事,唯一令人感到欣慰的是,唐人街的消失实际上是一个进步。这表明华人不再需要唐人街作为自我保护或工作的来源。他们离开了与世隔绝的唐人街,因为他们发现了一个更大、更繁荣的世界叫“美国”。


 

The Story of Santa Rosa’s “Lost” Chinatown

Sonoma County is certainly no Newport Harbor or Laguna Beach. Few people outside of the North Bay have heard of our quaint little corner of the universe, with its gorgeous hilly landscapes, rolling vineyards and fresh, relaxing atmosphere. But besides its undeniable natural beauty, what sets our county apart from the myriad of other Bay area communities is its history, a rich story that is intertwined with that of the Chinese-Americans.


Did you know that there was once a Chinatown in Santa Rosa? During and after the Gold Rush in mid 19th century, flocks of Chinese people came to America, with hopes of relief from poverty in the legendary “Gold Mountain”. They were amazing workers, excelling in many different professions. In Mendocino County, Chinese laborers were lumberjacks. In Marin County, they were the fishermen. In Sonoma County, the Chinese became some of the earliest winery workers in a business that still thrives today.


In 1857, the Chinese were hired by Count Agoston Haraszthy – the father of the modern California wine industry, to perform many menial tasks in his Buena Vista vineyards in Sonoma. They blasted and excavated tunnels for storing wine as well as filled, corked, and wired wine bottles. It has been estimated that without Chinese labor the California wine industry would have been set back by decades. The Chinese accepted many jobs that white people found undesirable.


Not only were the Chinese-Americans active in the Viticulture industry, they were equally pivotal in building the railway that eventually went from Petaluma to Healdsburg, connecting the “country people” to the outside world.


In 1868, Frederick Bee’s San Francisco and Humboldt Bay Company laid roadbed from Petaluma to within three miles of Santa Rosa with its almost exclusively Chinese labors. He later ran into money trouble and the work on the railroad was halted. In 1870, Colonel Peter Donahue who bought the interests from Mr. Bee completed the section with his Irish crew using the same roadbed built by the Chinese.


In 1871, while Donahue’s crews were building on towards Healdsburg, Cal Pacific’s mostly Chinese crews arrived to build a parallel roadbed towards the same destination. The Chinese found themselves at the center of a melodramatic battle of the railway companies, as they and the Irish competed to finish the railway first. Soon they were covering a stunning one mile a day. It was quite a sight. Santa Rosans lined the route to place bets and cheer and jeer as Irish and Chinese worked side by side, trading insults and dirt at each other.


The madness didn’t last very long. Eventually the big wigs of San Francisco stepped in and gave Donahue an offer that he could not refuse. Cal Pacific bought Donahue’s company and the right to complete the line. Mr. Donahue took care of his guys by insisting that they got to finish the work. What about Cal Pacific’s Chinese labors? Well, they were laid off.


Some of the displaced Chinese railway workers stayed in Santa Rosa, forming the core of Chinatown. The year was 1871, the beginning of Santa Rosa’s Chinatown. In the following years, the number of Chinese in Sonoma County grew substantially. Most were hired as domestic helpers like cooks or servants or worked in home-owned laundries. Apparently, the laundry business was pretty good. The corner of Second and Main Street (now the Santa Rosa Avenue) was dubbed “town dump” because of the constant outflow of the Chinese laundries. 


However, the economy started to turn sour in 1880s. Many Caucasians thought that the “Chinamen” were taking away jobs, endangering the opportunities of white Americans. In 1882 the “Chinese Exclusion Act” was enacted. The federal law singled out the Chinese for discrimination, prohibiting them from immigrating to America or becoming US citizens.


Anti-Chinese sentiments were also very strong in Sonoma County. In 1886, the Anti-Chinese League was formed with the goal of driving the Chinese out of Santa Rosa. The League did everything it could, short of violence, to make the Chinese people's lives miserable. They tore down Chinese houses, raided their opium dens, and forced them out of business. The league even put a banner over Santa Rosa’s Mendocino Avenue declaring, ''The Chinese Must Go; We Mean Strictly Business!'' In a few months the Chinese population plummeted from 600 to about 100.


But still, their tactics were not entirely successful. Chinese people have time and time again shown that they are a hardy and tough bunch. They were pushed around and beaten up, but some were still crazy or stubborn enough to stay.


The boycott of 1886 stunted the growth of Chinatown. However the report of its imminent demise was greatly exaggerated. Indeed, Santa Rosa’s Chinatown went on for almost a century, endured half dozen more anti-Chinese laws, the earthquake of 1906, the Great Depression and two World Wars. However, just as everyone started to believe that Chinatown was practically invincible; it disappeared into the mist of history.

 

Although Chinatown had been a fixture of Santa Rosa downtown for almost a century, it was largely ignored by the mainstream media. Occasionally, Chinatown popped up in the city council’s agenda, but more as public nuisance. The history of Chinatown would have been lost forever if not for the efforts of two extraordinary Chinese-Americans.


Song Wong Bourbeau was born to a prominent Chinatown family. Her maternal grandfather, Jam Poy, was the founder of the Jam Kee restaurant, which was one of the longest continuously running restaurants in Santa Rosa’s history. Her father Tom Wing, a labor contractor and the operator of a Chinese boarding house, was nicknamed the “Mayor of the Chinatown.”


Song was probably the first Chinese girl who went through a Sonoma County public school, enduring years of blatant discrimination and mistreatment. Her father had to walk her to Fremont Grammar School (now Santa Rosa Middle) on Fourth Street and pick her up after school, because she was often threatened or beaten up by other children. “I had long hair and they would tie it to anything they could tie to, put my hair in inkwells,” Song Wong recalled in an interview with the Sonoma County Museum.


At that time, Chinatown consisted of a block of board sidewalks and wooden buildings on Second Street between Santa Rosa Avenue and D Street. It was a self-sufficient community of about 100 people. Song Wong remembered “…we raised all our own food, chickens and rabbits and pigeons. If we wanted something we just went out in the backyard and got it, we had our own garden.”


She was married in the 1920s to Charles Bourbeau, her high school classmate. Their marriage was not even legal until 1948 because of the California anti-miscegenation law which prohibited inter-marriage between white people and “Mongolians”. 


Despite many hardships, Song went on to study in the SRJC and Stanford. She later became a prominent local businesswoman, prolific philanthropist, and a recipient of the “California Woman of the Year" award in 1985 by the American Legion Auxiliary.


Now we fast forward to 1930s, when a new family moved into Chinatown: the Yee family. The family started their own business, “The China Café” in 1937, and later also built “The Twin Dragons,” which opened in the first week of WWII. Albert Yee, the child of the proprietors, remembers that growing up in pre-WWII Santa Rosa was difficult, full of taunts and open discrimination from students and teachers alike. He went on to earn a Ph.D in psychology and became an expert in China and Japan. Today, Albert Yee has a street named after him in Santa Rosa.


In the 1930s, Chinatown’s population had dwindled to about 30 old gentlemen. They sat in the sun or on porches during the day and played lottery at night. The Gold Rush generation was fading and was superseded by a younger generation.


WWII was a true turning point for Chinese-Americans. Many felt that for first time they could make it in American society. They served in the army, took part in war bond drives, and worked in factories that produced goods for the war, giving their enthusiastic support to the country. Between 1940 and 1945, over 13,000 Chinese-Americans, nearly 22 percent of adult Chinese males in America, were drafted into the armed service. “With friends and relatives in uniform far abroad, we excelled in geography. Nearby Navy and Army flight schools brought WWII to our doorsteps.” Dr. Yee recalled.


Harry Lee, a resident of Chinatown and one of Albert Yee’s uncles, served in General George Patton’s 3rd army in Europe. He was awarded a silver medal for saving wounded GIs as a medic and ambulance driver. “Letters and photos sent home showed that he and his white buddies related like brothers,” wrote Dr. Yee in Yeee-Hah!, his autobiography.


On December 17, 1943, the Chinese Exclusion Act was quietly repealed, partly due to Chinese-Americans’ patriotic actions and partly because of geo-political considerations (China was an ally fighting the Japanese).


Harry Lee came back from the war a profoundly changed man. He had no desire to return to Chinatown anymore. Lee tried to buy a grocery store with his Army savings but he was ultimately blocked by neighbors who did not want an Asian in their midst, even a decorated veteran.


By that time, the Chinatown was in trouble. Most of the residents were life long bachelors; there were only about 10 children. In addition to the demographic problems, the draft during WWII accelerated the demise of the once-common Chinatowns in the West. “Chinese came increasingly in contact with whites and made the most of their educational opportunities,” Yee said.


The precise date of Chinatown’s demise is difficult to determine, but it is safe to say that Santa Rosa’s Chinatown disappeared somewhere in 1950s or 60s. Song Wong and Charles Bourbeau continued to operate the popular Jam Kee restaurant until 1988. Today, the only place that you can find traces of the “lost” Chinatown is in Santa Rosa Historical Cemetery where over 80 Chinese were buried. There are no tomb stones, just blocks of concrete with a number on them.


As an uplifting twist in a pretty sad story, the disappearing of Chinatown was actually a sign of progress, a sign that Chinese Americans no longer needed Chinatown for their own protection or as a source for jobs. They left the ghetto of Chinatown because they discovered a larger and more prosperous world called America.

 

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以下照片摄于索诺玛

 

位于索诺玛城的Buena Vista酒庄是加州最老的酒庄之一,现在还在运营中


Buena Vista的酒窖是华人建造的,现在还可以去参观

SMART火车重回北湾,等待上车的人们

SMART试运行时乘火车的人群

COTATI火车站

圣塔罗莎火车站广场,唐人街在不远处的二街上。唐人街原址现在是一个停车场

现在开通的火车线路

圣塔罗莎的CHANATE历史公墓。里面葬的多是没有后代的人,有80位左右华人葬在这里。

圣塔罗莎的CHANATE历史公墓。里面葬的多是没有后代的人,有80位左右华人葬在这里


Get Wong(王革?)是其中墓园里唯一有事迹留下的华人。他是名木匠,制作家具为生,他还因为抽鸦片被警察拘留因此有记录留下

没有墓碑,只有一个个印有数字的混凝土块


笑S啦

路过
1

不错

无语
4

献花

握手

哭了

爱s啦

刚表态过的朋友 (5 人)

发表评论 评论 (4 个评论)

回复 一生健康 2017-9-22 23:02
  
回复 丹奇 2017-9-23 05:40
好文。14岁的孩子写出这么有深度的文章,佩服!
回复 威连 2017-9-23 06:13
  
回复 墨逸 2017-10-7 10:23
  

facelist doodle 涂鸦板

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