Printable Version

A Petition for Separate Chinese Schools
Digital History ID 23


Annotation: In 1878, 1,300 Chinese merchants petitioned California’s legislature to fund separate schools for some 3,000 Chinese children.

Document: To the Honorable the Senate and the Assembly of the State of California

We respectfully present our petition for the establishment of separate schools for Chinese children, and for universal education.

We respectfully submit our humble opinion that Chinese merchants and laborers, being here under the protection of your Constitution and laws, are entitled to the same rights and privileges accorded to foreigners generally.

We respectfully represent that we are law-abiding people, and that in our business as merchants, manufacturers and laborers, we add largely to the prosperity of this State.

We respectfully represent that for many years we have been taxed for the support of Common Schools, and that for the year 1876-77 we paid for this purpose, in San Francisco alone, in taxes on real and personal property, and in poll taxes, a sum exceeding $42,000….

We respectfully represent that in the State of California there are more than 3,000 Chinese children between the ages of five and seventeen, entitled to the benefit of the Public Schools, and who are anxious to learn the English language, but are excluded from these schools, by the laws of the State….

Source: Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Copyright 2021 Digital History