Bellingham riots

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The Bellingham riots occurred on September 4, 1907, in Bellingham, Washington, United States.[1] A mob of 400–500 white men, predominantly members of the Asiatic Exclusion League, with intentions to exclude East Indian immigrants from the work force of the local lumber mills, attacked the homes of the South Asian Indians.[2] The Indians were mostly Sikhs but were labelled as Hindus by much of the media of the day.[3]

The mob threw the East Indian workers into the streets, beat them, and pocketed their valuables. The authorities co-operated with the mob by corralling the beaten Indian immigrants into the City Hall, ostensibly for their safety.[4] "By the next day 125 South Asians had been driven out of town and were on their way to British Columbia".[5] Six Indians were hospitalized; no one was killed. About 400 were held in the Bellingham Jail, reportedly under "protective custody". No participants in the mob violence were prosecuted.[6]

Some victims of the riots migrated to Everett, Washington where two months later, they received similar treatment.[7] Similar riots occurred during this period in Vancouver, BC[8] and California.[9]

In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the riots, Whatcom County Executive Pete Kremen and Bellingham Mayor Tim Douglas jointly proclaimed Sept. 4, 2007, a "Day of Healing and Reconciliation," acknowledging and atoning for those regrettable events.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "1907 Bellingham Riots".
  2. ^ "White workingmen attack Bellingham's East Indian millworkers on September 4, 1907".
  3. ^ "News Coverage 1907-2007".
  4. ^ "1907 Bellingham Riots".
  5. ^ Erika Lee, "The "Yellow Peril" and Asian Exclusion in the Americas," Pacific Historical Review 76, no. 4 (November 2007):551
  6. ^ Robert E. Wynne, "American Labor Leaders and the Vancouver Anti-Oriental Riot." Pacific Northwest Quarterly 57.4 (1966): 174
  7. ^ "The City of Everett".
  8. ^ "Two-day conference examines city's 1907 race riot". Archived from the original on 2012-11-04.
  9. ^ "4: The Great White Wall". Echoes of Freedom: South Asian Pioneers in California, 1899-1965.
  10. ^ announcement Archived March 9, 2014, at the Wayback Machine

Further reading[edit]

  • Englesberg, Paul. "The 1907 Bellingham Riot and Anti-Asian Hostilities in the Pacific Northwest." online
  • Hallberg, Gerald. N. "Bellingham, Washington's Anti-Hindu Riot." Journal of the West, 12 (1973): 163-175.
  • Jensen, Joan M. Passage from India: Asian Indian Immigrants in North America (Yale University Press, 1988)
  • Lee, Erika. "Hemispheric Orientalism and the 1907 Pacific Coast race riots." Amerasia Journal 33#2 (2007): 19-48.

External links[edit]