‘Blood on Gold Mountain’ traces the history of 1871 Chinatown massacre in LA

“Blood on Gold Mountain” examines the story of Yut Ho and the LA Chinatown massacre. Photo courtesy of “Blood on Gold Mountain.”

The Chinese massacre of 1871 is thought to be one of the largest mass lynchings in U.S. history. Nearly 500 people stormed LA’s original Chinatown, near where Union Station currently stands. The rioters robbed, shot, and killed Chinese residents. An estimated 17 to 20 people were killed. Their bodies were later hung in downtown LA. 

The massacre’s origins can be traced back to a conflict between two rival Chinese gangs who were fighting over a woman named Yut Ho. It’s been 150 years since the tragedy. A new podcast examines the story of Yut Ho and the LA Chinatown massacre. It’s called “Blood on Gold Mountain.”

Co-host and writer Micah Huang says he sees similarities between that period of history and today. 

“There was an economic crisis going on at the time, and there was a lot of rhetoric that Chinese immigration was a threat to jobs and wages. There was also a sense that the Chinese were a threat to the racial purity of the United States,” Huang says. “Even such influential figures, as Leland Stanford, at the time made statements publicly that the Chinese were an inferior race that were threatening America and American values.”

Huang says his father, Hao Huang, first had the idea for creating “Blood on Gold Mountain” in 2019. He is a narrator on the podcast and a professor at Scripps College.

“He was really inspired by a lot of the work that activists in the Black Lives Matter movement were doing at that time, and continue to do today, which has to do with reexamining mainstream historical narratives that marginalize or completely suppress events — similar to this Chinatown massacre — that have to do with racism and discrimination and violence that's related to those patterns in American society.”

Credits

Guest:
Micah Huang - writer and composer, artistic director of “Blood on Gold Mountain”

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Angie Perrin, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Bennett Purser