© 2022 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
WKAR StayTuned Update
Celebrate and explore Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with WKAR!

Plague at the Golden Gate | American Experience

Plague at the Golden Gate | American Experience
Burk Uzzle / KEYSTONE
/
ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo
San Francisco, California, USA. 10th Aug, 1887. A Chinese butcher displays hanging meats, fruits and vegetables in wicker baskets and tins at his grocery shop in Chinatown.

Tue. May 24 at 9 p.m. on WKAR-HD 23.1 & STREAMING | Discover how bubonic plague in 1900 set off fear and anti-Asian sentiment in San Francisco.

Over 100 years before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world and set off a wave of fear and anti-Asian sentiment, an outbreak of bubonic plague in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1900 unleashed a similar furor. It was the first time in history that civilization’s most feared disease — the infamous Black Death — made it to North America.

Two doctors — vastly different in temperament, training and experience — used different methods to lead the seemingly impossible battle to contain the disease before it could engulf the country. In addition to overwhelming medical challenges, they faced unexpected opposition from business leaders, politicians, and even the president of the United States.

Fueling the resistance would be a potent blend of political expediency, ignorance, greed, racism, and deep-rooted distrust of not only federal authority but science itself. Scapegoated as the source of the disease early on, the Chinese community fought back against unjust, discriminatory treatment.

Watch this documentary at video.wkar.org during or after the premiere date. This episode is also available to watch live during its premiere date on the WKAR Livestream.

MORE ABOUT AMERICAN EXPERIENCE:
For more than 30 years, American Experience has been television’s most-watched history series, bringing to life the incredible characters and epic stories that have shaped America’s past and present.

News from WKAR will never be behind a paywall. Ever. We need your help to keep our coverage free for everyone. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. You can support our journalism for as little as $5. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.