11 Oct: The Japanese Exclusion League

Triggering a national and international outcry, the San Francisco school board issued an order on October 11th, 1906, requiring all Japanese and Korean children to attend a separate “Oriental School” where Chinese pupils were already segregated. 

The move came as a huge embarrassment to President Theodore Roosevelt, who was trying to build relations with Japan, prompting him to describe the school board’s action as a “wicked absurdity” in his annual message to Congress.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly discuss why an earthquake prompted San Francisco to act; explain why anti-Chinese sentiment came to be transferred to Japanese immigrants; and look into how laws overtly banning Asians from entering the country remained on the books in the US until 1965… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Segregation of Japanese School Kids in San Francisco Sparks An International Incident’ (California State Library, 2019): https://cal170.library.ca.gov/japanese-segregation/ 

• ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ (History.com, 2009): https://www.history.com/topics/immigration/gentlemens-agreement 

• ‘The dark history of the Chinese Exclusion Act’ (TED, 2009):