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FT-259859-18

Kevin John Adams
Kent State University (Kent, OH 44242-0001)
Civil Rights and Anti-Chinese Violence in Seattle During the 1880s

Work on a book-length examination of anti-Chinese violence in late-nineteenth-century Seattle and its implications for post-Reconstruction federal civil rights policy.

“American Pogrom: Anti-Chinese Violence and the Challenges of the Long Reconstruction” uses the assertive federal response to 1880’s mob violence against Chinese in the Pacific Northwest to understand federal power after Reconstruction. Two discrete questions guide my inquiry: what tools did the federal government have at its disposal to protect the civil rights of marginalized groups and how effectively did it do so? Relying on both the architecture of civil rights protections enshrined during Reconstruction and the U.S. Army, which effectively projected federal power, the Cleveland administration illustrated the federal government’s continuing ability to protect civil rights, even after Reconstruction, but also the structural impediments to complete success in that endeavor. In the end, fervid support for Chinese exclusion by locals trumped the federal prerogative, but events there set a precedent for civil rights enforcement that would later be expanded upon in the 1950s and 60s.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
Summer Stipends

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2018 – 8/31/2018