Chapter

Chinatown

David Kipen

in San Francisco in the 1930s

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780520268807
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948877 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520268807.003.0014
Chinatown

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The quarter of old Canton, transplanted and transformed, neither quite oriental nor wholly occidental, San Francisco's Chinatown yields to the ways of the West while continuing to venerate a native civilization as ancient as the Pyramids. Grant Avenue, its main thoroughfare, leads northward from Bush Street through a veritable city-within-a-city—alien in appearance to all the rest of San Francisco—hemmed within boundaries kept by tacit agreement with municipal authorities for almost a century. Chinatown enjoys a measure of civil autonomy unique among San Francisco's foreign sections. Though police protection, public education, and public health are directed by municipal authorities, local affairs are controlled largely by the powerful Chinese Six Companies. Labor relations, family regulation, traditional customs, and commercial activities are the province of this unusual body.

Keywords: San Francisco; Chinatown; Grant Avenue; civil autonomy; police; education; public health; Chinese Six Companies

Chapter.  6722 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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