The Chinese immigrants that came to North America in search of Gold Mountain from about 1850-1950 originated from impoverished villages of Guangdong province in southeastern China. However, racial prejudices toward the Chinese prevented them from working in most lucrative occupations. Laundry work, which was not something that Chinese men did back in China, was one of the few lines of work left open to them. The lives of Chinese laundrymen and their families was indeed difficult but they had the resolve and persistence to endure the hardships.
This site will describe how the laundry became the meal ticket for Chinese and their descendants to overcame the obstacles placed before them in western society. What did running a laundry involve? How might this life have affected the direction that their children followed as they grew up? What lessons did their children learn that helped them rise from such inauspicious beginnings to pursue and succeed in many prestigious professional careers? Today, even though the Chinese laundry has virtually vanished into history, we must recognize that it was one of the most important economic engines for the early Chinese as it allowed them and their children to succeed in America despite the racist animosity and hostility they faced throughout North America.