Some 10, 000 Chinese live in the area between Canal Street, the Bowery, Park Row, Pearl Street and Center Street-some nine square blocks. For many years the Chinese were one of the most oppressed minorities in the United States. Immigration began at the time of the California gold rush. The Chinese, who came like everyone else to make their fortunes.
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Quickly realized that there was not enough gold to go around, so they signed on as ranch hands and railroad workers. Sometimes working up to 90 hours a week for a mere pittance.
You will see some very poor Chinese in Chinatown. They have integrated very little; many of them barely understand English and still speak Chinese to their children.
They read ortiy Chinese newspapers.
New York's Chinatown keeps out foreign influences, except for barber's familiar striped pole and are more concerned about events in Peking than in Washington. (Many went into mourning when Mao-Tse-Tung died. )