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Knights of St. Crispen

This union of shoemakers (the largest American labor organization at the time) was named after the patron saint of cobblers and shoemakers. In 1870, the Chinese were used in North Adams, Massachusetts, to break a strike by the Knights of St. Crispen. In response, the Knights of St. Crispen attempted to form the strikebreakers into a Chinese chapter of their union. The failure to organize the Chinese led many other workers in the East to oppose Chinese labor and support Chinese exclusion. Meanwhile in San Francisco, the St. Crispens organized a large, anti-Chinese protest.

Sources consulted:

Gunther Barth, Bitter Strength: A History of the Chinese in the United States, 1850-1870 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1964)

Elmer Clarence Sandmeyer, The Anti-Chinese Movement in California (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991)


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