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The White Devil's Daughters: The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco's Chinatown
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2019
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Description
During the first hundred years of Chinese immigration—from 1848 to 1943—San Francisco was home to a shockingly extensive underground slave trade in Asian women, who were exploited as prostitutes and indentured servants. In this gripping, necessary book, bestselling author Julia Flynn Siler shines a light on this little-known chapter in our history—and gives us a vivid portrait of the safe house to which enslaved women escaped. The Occidental Mission Home, situated on the edge of Chinatown, served as a gateway to freedom for thousands. Run by a courageous group of female Christian abolitionists, it survived earthquakes, fire, bubonic plague, and violent attacks. We meet Dolly Cameron, who ran the home from 1899 to 1934, and Tien Fuh Wu, who arrived at the house as a young child after her abuse as a household slave drew the attention of authorities. Wu would grow up to become Cameron's translator, deputy director, and steadfast friend. Siler shows how Dolly and her colleagues defied convention and even law—physically rescuing young girls from brothels, snatching them from their smugglers—and how they helped bring the exploiters to justice. Riveting and revelatory, The White Devil's Daughters is a timely, extraordinary account of oppression, resistance, and hope.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/14/2019
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781101875278
ASIN:
B07GD4HR5Q
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APA Citation (style guide)

Julia Flynn Siler. (2019). The White Devil's Daughters: The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco's Chinatown. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Julia Flynn Siler. 2019. The White Devil's Daughters: The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco's Chinatown. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Julia Flynn Siler, The White Devil's Daughters: The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco's Chinatown. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2019.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Julia Flynn Siler. The White Devil's Daughters: The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco's Chinatown. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2019. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: JULIA FLYNN SILER is a New York Times best-selling author and journalist. Her most recent book is Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America's First Imperial Adventure. Her first book, The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty, was a finalist for a James Beard Award and a Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished reporting. A veteran journalist, Siler is a longtime contributor and former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and has been a guest commentator on the BBC, CNBC, and CNN. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two sons.
      • name: Julia Flynn Siler
imprint
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publishDate
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title
The White Devil's Daughters
fullDescription
During the first hundred years of Chinese immigration—from 1848 to 1943—San Francisco was home to a shockingly extensive underground slave trade in Asian women, who were exploited as prostitutes and indentured servants. In this gripping, necessary book, bestselling author Julia Flynn Siler shines a light on this little-known chapter in our history—and gives us a vivid portrait of the safe house to which enslaved women escaped. The Occidental Mission Home, situated on the edge of Chinatown, served as a gateway to freedom for thousands. Run by a courageous group of female Christian abolitionists, it survived earthquakes, fire, bubonic plague, and violent attacks. We meet Dolly Cameron, who ran the home from 1899 to 1934, and Tien Fuh Wu, who arrived at the house as a young child after her abuse as a household slave drew the attention of authorities. Wu would grow up to become Cameron's translator, deputy director, and steadfast friend. Siler shows how Dolly and her colleagues defied convention and even law—physically rescuing young girls from brothels, snatching them from their smugglers—and how they helped bring the exploiters to justice. Riveting and revelatory, The White Devil's Daughters is a timely, extraordinary account of oppression, resistance, and hope.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Gary Kamiya, The New York Times Book Review
      • content: "A solid introduction to an inspiring and, yes, heroic struggle against a barbaric practice . . . Siler has provided a usefully broad view of the fight against slavery in San Francisco's Chinatown, one especially effective in giving voice to previously underappreciated figures."
      • premium: False
      • source: Sara Jorgensen, Booklist
      • content: "In this incisive history, journalist Siler uses the biographies of Donaldina Cameron and her longtime assistant, Tien Fuh Wu, to tell the story of San Francisco's Presbyterian Mission Home. . . . Their campaigns included literal rescues from sexual or household slavery as well as providing protection and a home to women and girls fleeing enslavement, forced marriages, and other forms of exploitation. . . . Siler offers a fascinating example of the urgency and ambiguity of turn-of-the-century social reform movements and reformers."
      • premium: False
      • source: Yunte Huang, author of Inseparable
      • content: "Unveils a remarkable and controversial chapter of Chinatown history. Sounding a warning gong in a world still plagued by human trafficking, The White Devil's Daughters is a timely book and a valuable lesson in caring for the suffering of fellow humans while looking for a real cure."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        March 18, 2019
        Siler (Lost Kingdom) vividly recounts a shocking episode from America’s past in this gripping history. In the latter half of the 19th century, criminal syndicates in China purchased girls and young women from poor families and brought them to California, forcing them to work as domestic servants or prostitutes. From the 1870s through the early decades of the 1900s, white American women organized through their Protestant churches to stop it. They “rescued” Chinese female slaves in San Francisco, offering them shelter, education, job training, and Christian conversion. It wasn’t easy work; Siler chillingly describes a city riven by anti-immigrant sentiment and racism (even upstanding Protestant ladies referred to Chinese women as “depraved” or “barbarians”) and plagued with political corruption. The criminal syndicates, meanwhile, used lawsuits and violence to retrieve their “property.” Still, some of the rescued women found respectable occupations and even married. Donaldina “Dolly” Cameron, who began working at the Presbyterian Mission Home in 1895, sits at the heart of the story. Empathetic and indomitable, Cameron pulled her institution through the 1906 earthquake and expanded its services to provide community child care. Siler narrowly avoids an overfocus on the contributions of white women by weaving in those of women such as Cameron’s assistant Tien Fuh Wu. This strong story will fascinate readers interested in the history of women, immigration, and racism. Illus.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        April 15, 2019
        An eye-opening account of the valiant work of a handful of Christian women against the enslavement of Asian girls in San Francisco's Chinatown from the mid-1870s well into the next century. In her latest impressive work of research and storytelling, San Francisco-based journalist and author Siler (Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings and America's First Imperial Adventure, 2012, etc.) delves vigorously into a shocking story of racism and oppression. Well past California's ratification of the 13th Amendment, the white male authorities largely looked the other way when boatloads of Chinese girls and vulnerable other women arrived as cargo from overseas and were quickly corralled into work as prostitutes and indentured servants. Most were tricked by unscrupulous relatives and agents into voyaging to America. They were valuable fodder to feed the "pent-up demand for sex" by the solitary male Chinese workers who had been lured in great numbers by the gold rush of 1848 as well as those who fled the turmoil in South China's Pearl River delta region in the 1860s. The notorious brothels of Chinatown also attracted a considerable white clientele. Rising first to meet the need of girls and women who managed to escape their horrific fates were the wives of Presbyterian missionaries, part of the surge of Christian evangelism at the time known as the Great Awakening. From their modest Presbyterian Mission House on Sacramento Street, on the edge of Chinatown, these brave women, especially the house's superintendent, Margaret Culbertson, sheltered the refugees, defying their gangster handlers; taught them skills such as reading and sewing; served as their advocates and translators in court; and often arranged for them respectable marriages to Chinese men, one of their few options in America. Siler vividly portrays both the vibrant, violent milieu of Chinatown of the era--amid the fear and hatred of the Chinese by whites and the effects of laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882--and the lives and dedication of the extraordinary women of the Mission House. An accessible, well-written, riveting tale of a dismal, little-known corner of American history.

        COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        May 15, 2019
        At the turn of the twentieth century, Chinese and Chinese-American human traffickers in San Francisco gave the name White Devil to Donaldina Cameron, an activist who fought trafficking and enslavement and helped to rescue hundreds of women. In this incisive history, journalist Siler (Lost Kingdom, 2011) uses the biographies of Cameron and her longtime assistant, former domestic slave Tien Fuh Wu, to tell the story of San Francisco's Presbyterian Mission Home and its role in the fight against these forms of exploitation during the era of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882-1943). Their campaigns included literal rescues from sexual or household slavery as well as providing protection and a home to women and girls fleeing enslavement, forced marriages, and other forms of exploitation. Cameron also participated in public antislavery campaigns and fought against stereotypes that portrayed the Chinese as inherently vice-prone, while Wu oversaw and chaperoned the Home's residents towards productive, conventionally American lives. Through their stories, Siler offers a fascinating example of the urgency and ambiguity of turn-of-the-century social reform movements and reformers.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 1, 2019

        Starting in the mid-19th century, Chinese immigrants arrived in California to participate in the Gold Rush and work on the Transcontinental Railroad. The vast majority were men, and thus a lucrative human trafficking operation developed that smuggled Chinese women and girls to the United States, forcing them to work in brothels or as domestic servants. Journalist Siler (The Lost Kingdom) tells the story of the Occidental Mission Home, established in San Francisco in 1874, that worked to free these women. The staff and clients confronted many challenges: dangerous escapes, threats from organized crime, court battles, the 1906 earthquake, and more. Siler highlights a variety of individuals involved, but the most prominently mentioned are Donaldina Cameron, who started at the home in 1895 and later served as director for more than 30 years, and her long-serving aide Tien Fuh Wu. In 1942, the mission was renamed Cameron House and continues to operate today. VERDICT This thoroughly researched work is highly recommended for those interested in the Chinese American experience or the history of San Francisco. [See Prepub Alert, 11/12/18.]--Joshua Wallace, Tarleton State Univ. Lib. Stephenville, TX

        Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 1, 2019

        Siler follows her Gerald Loeb Award-winning The House of Mondavi and New York Times best-selling Lost Kingdom by detailing the trafficking of young Chinese women and girls in 1840s-1940s San Francisco and the female abolitionists who helped them by running a safe house.

        Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription
A revelatory history of the trafficking of young Asian girls that flourished in San Francisco during the first century of Chinese immigration (1848-1943) and the "safe house" on the edge of Chinatown that became a refuge for those seeking their freedom
From 1874, a house on the edge of San Francisco's Chinatown served as a gateway to freedom for thousands of enslaved and vulnerable young Chinese women and girls. Known as the Occidental Mission Home, it survived earthquakes, fire, bubonic plague, and violence directed against its occupants and supporters—a courageous group of female abolitionists who fought the slave trade in Chinese women. With compassion and an investigative historian's sharp eyes, Siler tells the story of both the abolitionists, who challenged the corrosive, anti-Chinese prejudices of the time, and the young women who dared to flee their fate. She relates how the women who ran the house defied contemporary convention, even occasionally broke the...
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White Devils Daughters The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Franciscos Chinatown
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The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco's Chinatown
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group