Letters to the Editor: Never forget California's history of racist violence

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LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 21, 2021: A plaque on the sidewalk along Los Angeles St. in downtown Los Angeles, near the Chinese American Museum, commemorates the Anti-Chinese Massacre of 1871, the city's largest mass killing of any kind, which resulted in the deaths of 18 Chinese people. This was a central site to the massacre. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
A sidewalk plaque on Los Angeles Street in downtown L.A. commemorates the Chinese massacre of 1871. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Thanks to Frank Shyong for his column on the 1871 Los Angeles Chinese massacre, one of the many pieces of history in California not often told to a large audience.

These kinds of things happened in all parts of the state to many racial groups. It is important for us to know about them, because "man's inhumanity to man" wasn't something that began with former President Trump, contrary to what some in this state seem to believe.

Have we improved in our behavior towards each other? I think so, and there is much more improvement needed.

Jean Solomon, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Leland Stanford was one of the "fathers" of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which Shyong referenced in his column.

As governor of California from 1862 to 1863, Stanford called the Chinese immigrants living in California the "dregs" of Asia's population. But Stanford did not hesitate to use Chinese laborers to build his section of the transcontinental railroad, paying the Chinese less than the Irish, nor did he hesitate to use Chinese labor to build Stanford University.

In the current climate, maybe it is time to remove Stanford's name from the university founded by Leland Stanford.

Andrew Ko, San Marino

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To the editor: Shyong states that in 2012 former L.A. City Councilman Michael Woo was "asked to review a book on the massacre," but Shyong doesn't mention the title of the book.

The book is "The Chinatown War: Chinese Los Angeles and the Massacre of 1871," by Scott Zesch, published by Oxford University Press, a major publisher.

The historical record may be ignored, but it is not forgotten.

Abraham Hoffman, Woodland Hills

The writer is a historian who teaches at Los Angeles Valley College.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.