|Author / Contributor(s):||Julia Flynn Siler|
Trade paperback (US). 448p.
During the first hundred years of Chinese immigration--from 1848 to 1943--San Francisco was home to a shockingly extensive underground slave trade in Asian women, who were exploited as prostitutes and indentured servants. In this gripping, necessary book, bestselling author Julia Flynn Siler shines a light on this little-known chapter in our history--and gives us a vivid portrait of the safe house to which enslaved women escaped. The Occidental Mission Home, situated on the edge of Chinatown, served as a gateway to freedom for thousands. Run by a courageous group of female Christian abolitionists, it survived earthquakes, fire, bubonic plague, and violent attacks. We meet Dolly Cameron, who ran the home from 1899 to 1934, and Tien Fuh Wu, who arrived at the house as a young child after her abuse as a household slave drew the attention of authorities. Wu would grow up to become Cameron's translator, deputy director, and steadfast friend. Siler shows how Dolly and her colleagues defied convention and even law--physically rescuing young girls from brothels, snatching them from their smugglers--and how they helped bring the exploiters to justice. Riveting and revelatory, The White Devil's Daughters is a timely, extraordinary account of oppression, resistance, and hope.