A Documentary from KQED San Francisco



Chinatown Photographs red line

Picture of Chinese Man standing in doorway

Photo Credit: D.H. Wulzen/Frank E. Wulzen
Early Chinatown was populated primarily by men, so it was called a "Bachelor Society." It was a world without women, though many men were married with families in China. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 banned the immigration of Chinese laborers for 61 years.


Picture of Chinatown 5 Telephone Operators

Photo Credit: Pacific Bell Museum Archives
The Chinese Telephone, or "China 5" as it was called, served Chinatown's residents from 1894-1949. It's a perfect example of how the neighborhood took care of itself.


Picture of Chinese Elementary School Students

Photo Credit: Chester Gan
Chinatown's children had everything they needed within the boundaries of California and Broadway, Kearny and Powell. The public school, Commodore Stockton, was segregated until the 1940s.


Picture of Felicia Lowe

Photo Credit: Joe Manio / ASIAN WEEK
Chinatown's producer, Felicia Lowe


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Take me back to the Chinatown home page

PBS Online