The city of Denver has removed an offensive plaque titled “Chinese Riot of 1880.” Critics say the plaque misrepresents history.
The plaque is located downtown at 20th and Blake streets, across from Coors Field, 9News reports. It describes a riot that took place on Oct. 31, 1880, in what was then Denver’s Chinatown.
The riot took place at a time when anti-Chinese sentiment throughout the country was high. According to Rocky Mountain PBS, it began when white customers fought two Chinese customers outside of a saloon. The fight morphed into a riot as a white mob stormed Denver’s Chinatown, destroying businesses and hanging a Chinese man named Look Young.
Critics and historians feel the plaque inaccurately makes the Chinese out to be the aggressors.
“It wasn’t a Chinese riot,” William Wei, a former Colorado State University historian told Rocky Mountain PBS in a previous interview, “it was an anti-Chinese race riot.”
Wei also said that the plaque does not mention Young’s death at the hands of the white mob.
According to Denverite, the city apologized earlier this year for its role in the violence. Chinese Americans in Denver see the removal of the plaque as an important step forward.
“The Lungs appreciate the recognition and acknowledgment of the past injustices of not only the anti-Chinese race riot but the destruction of Chinatown,” Linda Lung, whose grandmother owned a business in Chinatown, told Denverite. “But it’s time to move forward. Let’s take this opportunity to capture and record the true and accurate history of the Chinese and all AAPI stories to preserve and celebrate this proud and rich history for future generations.”
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