Kenyon W. Zimmer, University of Texas at Arlington | Newberry

Kenyon W. Zimmer, University of Texas at Arlington

Friday, April 12, 2019

3 to 5pm

Labor History Seminar

The Chop Suey Strike of 1919: Chinese Workers, New York Radicalism, and the Origins of the First Red Scare

In early 1919, Chinese restaurant workers in New York and other cities went on strike to protest long hours and low wages. The struggle brought two unlikely alliances into conflict: one composed of Chinese immigrants, local anarchists, and the Industrial Workers of the World; the other consisting of Chinese merchants and “tongs,” the New York police, and federal authorities. Escalating conflict culminated with the arrests of over a dozen strike leaders. Although repression broke the strike, establishing the template for the subsequent First Red Scare, it also revealed the limits of efforts to eradicate working-class radicalism through incarceration and deportation.

Respondents: Rosemary Feurer, Northern Illinois University and Ryan Yokota, University of Chicago

Cost and Registration Information 

Newberry Scholarly Seminars papers are pre-circulated. For a copy of the paper, email Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.