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Chinese Diaspora Archaeology in North America$
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Chelsea Rose and J. Ryan Kennedy

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813066356

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813066356.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

An Archaeology of a Chinese Laundryman in the Jim Crow South

An Archaeology of a Chinese Laundryman in the Jim Crow South

The Sam Long Laundry, New Orleans, Louisiana

(p.139) 6 An Archaeology of a Chinese Laundryman in the Jim Crow South
Chinese Diaspora Archaeology in North America

D. Ryan Gray

University Press of Florida

The experiences of Chinese diasporic communities in the American South has been little studied compared to those in the West, despite the importance of Chinese immigration in discussions of post-Emancipation plantation labor. This chapter explores the making of a Chinese American identity in Jim Crow–era New Orleans through the archaeology of a Chinese-operated hand laundry, in business at the same location for three decades. Chinese immigrants in the South entered a two-tiered racial hierarchy in which they were officially relegated to a lower status, but the ambiguities of color in an urban setting like New Orleans provided opportunities to use the material markers of ethnicity instrumentally to negotiate a status that was neither white nor black.

Keywords:   laundry, Jim Crow, New Orleans, Louisiana, Chinese American identity

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