Privilege or Right?
This chapter is a case study that examines close-up one theater’s tug-of-war with Immigration Bureau to gain legitimacy at various junctures. It focuses on San Francisco Mandarin Theater’s struggle against exclusionary immigration policies. The Mandarin’s path to becoming the fastest growing Chinatown theater in the 1920s was filled with difficult hurdles, from obtaining permission, to extension of actor permit, and to expansion of the quota and operation. Using letters, interviews, legal briefs, etc., the chapter reveals the nuance of arguments and decisions, namely, the everyday life of the regulations of Chinese Exclusion. The attorney also drew from recent precedents: two landmark Supreme Court cases regarding wives of Chinese merchants. At a crucial juncture, the attorney’s right-based argument won the theaters permission to expand, and established the legal status of these performers as non-immigrant. Mandarin’s eventual success was due to the prudence, financial prowess, and business skill of Chinese merchants, as well as the mobilization of legal professionals.
Illinois Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.