In the face of a hostile public, and in response
to hard times and legal exclusion, Chinese immigrants began to
build communities unlike any others in North America: Chinatowns.
With the completion of the railroads and the end of the gold rush,
Chinese immigrants moved in increasing numbers to urban areas.
There, they began to congregate in Chinese-only neighborhoods
that soon became known, to Chinese and non-Chinese residents alike,
as separate, nearly independent, cities within the city.
A Chinatown served as a safe haven and second
home for Chinese immigrants, a place to shop for familiar
to worship in a traditional temple,
or to catch up on the news
from the old country. It also was a good place to do business:
The shops and factories in a Chinatown were almost exclusively
Chinese-owned, and would hire Chinese workers when many
non-Chinese businesses would not. By the turn of the century,
Chinatowns had sprung up in cities, from San Diego to
El Paso to Connecticut, and formed a network that crossed