Candlelight Vigil for Memory of Chinatown Massacre
photo by Gary Leonard

DTLA - A dark period in Los Angeles history will be remembered this week. On Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m., members of the Friends of the Chinese American Museum, along with elected and appointed officials, will gather at the museum (at 425 N. Los Angeles St.) to commemorate the 146th anniversary of the Chinese Massacre.

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The public ceremony will include a candlelight vigil, the laying of wreaths at the site of the tragedy, and the reading aloud of the victims’ names. Although largely forgotten, the event in 1871 was a dark mark upon a young city. It started, according to the Chinese American Museum, after a police officer and a white Angeleno named Robert Thompson tried to break up a fight of Chinese gangs in Chinatown. Thompson was shot to death — it is unknown whether intentionally or by accident. Soon after, a mob of 500 people stormed Chinatown, and over five hours 18 Chinese men and one Chinese boy were killed. Eight people were sentenced to prison, but their convictions were overturned a year later. A plaque near the entrance of the museum serves as reminder of the deadly attack.

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