Tong, a name from Cantonese, means “hall or “gathering place”. Though usually perceived as dangerous or demoralizing to the American society, Tongs played a critical role in Chinatowns during the Chinese Exclusion Era(1882-1943). This podcast will investigate an unresolved “Tong War” case that happened in 1925 Santa Barbara Chinatown. Then it will bring us back to the 19th century and early 20th century Santa Barbara to glance at contemporary people’s perceptions about Chinese immigrants. In particular, we would look at the stories of three Tongs that existed in Santa Barbara and analyze their bonded relationship with the Chinese community.
Today’s host, Keren Zou, is a junior at UCSB triple major in History of Public Policy and Law, Asian American Studies, and Geography. Her research interests include Asian American history, American immigration history, and 19 &20th century U.S. history. She is currently curating her project on Chinese American history, titled Navigating through the Mist of Exclusion: Resistance and Resilience of Chinese Fishery in 1882-1930 California.