When Anti-Miscegenation Laws Reflected the Worst Kind of Bigotry

My grandparents’ marriage became a national ‘scandal’ because of anti-Asian hate

Denver Post, May 29, 1906. Image: Author
The author’s grandparents (top, third and fourth from left) with their wedding party in May 1906, in search of a minister who would marry them. Photo: Author
San Francisco Chronicle, June 18, 1907. Image: Author

I’m grateful to my grandparents for their astonishing courage in standing up to Asian hate at a time when American law encoded and enforced naked bigotry. And I fervently believe that we must keep telling stories like this one, not as cautionary tales, but as profiles in courage to celebrate and honor.

Finally, my grandmother found a flat in Berkeley, near the college campus. Her husband, she told the landlady, was out of town. By the time this Chinese husband with the Spanish name turned up, the lease was signed and sealed and the rent paid a year in advance.

Oakland Tribune, June 19, 1907. Image: Author
The author’s grandparents and eldest aunt in 1908. Photo: Author
The author’s grandmother and three of her children returning to the United States in 1932. Photo: Author

Asian-American novels (Glorious Boy, Cloud Mountain, Flash House, Face), nonfiction on creative writing, wellness, history, and psychology. More@ aimeeliu.net

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