Friday, March 16, 2012

The Year in Review: Second Anniversary

In March 2010 I decided to start a blog about a guy in New York City who is working on his Ph.D. He is researching and writing on the history of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific, on labor and environment, and on the interconnections between China, the United States, and Pacific Islands in the nineteenth century.

...[yawn]...

Yeah, I know.

But this blog has turned out to be about so much more than just that. Last March, in the year 2011, I summed up my first year of blogging with an anniversary post. Today I would like to sum up the most recent year with a second one.

The view from Vault Hill, Van Cortlandt Park, the Bronx. This is what I do in my free time: wander the city I love.


A Year in a Blog

So what did I write about last year, in case you missed it?

Well, in April 2011 I went on a "China" kick. Which makes sense. I was TA-ing at the time for a class on imperial Chinese history, and doing quite a bit of reading of Chinese history on my own.

And watching Chinese films. After a decade of absorbing and enjoying mainland Chinese cinema, in April I wrote a review of the state of Chinese film.

But one film really stood out for me. "Take Out" is a semi-fictional film about an illegal immigrant from China who works for a Chinese restaurant in Manhattan. Watching these "take-out boys" riding their bicycles past me along the busy streets and avenues everyday, I had never really stopped to think about the labor and migration issues here. After watching the film, I will admit that I thought about volunteering my time in Chinatown - perhaps volunteering to teach English - but I never did. Yet I did engage myself in reading more about the recent history of labor migration from China to the United States, especially to NYC in the 1990s and 2000s. I love it when a film makes you want to change the way you approach your own life. This film did that. I am more aware now of the migrant laborers all around me in the city, and I want to make sure their stories are told.

Passover came in April as well. And every Passover I fast from certain restricted foods for eight days and I think about what "slavery" was and is. Unfortunately, slavery is still among us. This passover we should all commit not only to remembering historic Jewish slavery, but working just as hard to stamp out the enslavement of other peoples today, including those presently living under Israeli occupation - a tragic irony.

But don't forget what also happened last spring: in late February 2011 over a thousand New Yorkers rallied in Manhattan on Feb. 26 in solidarity with the workers of Wisconsin, who were then fighting their Governor, Scott Walker. Walker tried to strip the unions of their collective bargaining rights, and he ultimately succeeded. The 2011 Wisconsin protests galvanized my own union into action, and they also showed the power of the Arab Spring to reenergize the American left.

Later that day (Feb. 26, 2011) thousands rallied at Foley Square in NYC in support of Planned Parenthood and defending women's reproductive rights.

On the steps of a courthouse at Foley Square, women held a homemade banner that read: "Feminism is for Lovers."

In May 2011, I pooped out, traveled home to upstate New York, and wrote a poem about spring, and photographed the skunk cabbages peaking out from the forest floor.

In June 2011, I moved upstate for one and half months for a summer job at a historic house museum. In my free time, I enjoyed exploring the Catskill mountains, and enjoyed (a bit less) beginning preparations for my doctoral program's oral examination.

On June 11, 2011, my fiancee and I visited Farm Sanctuary in Western New York. I had interned there in the early 2000s. I was pleased to meet all the animals - especially this pig! - and the visit was a reminder for myself why I am vegan, and what my choices mean for the lives of animals like this one.

We drove down beautiful country roads...
The trip reminded me again why I love upstate New York.

June ended with a bang as the New York State legislature moved towards consideration of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. This was an issue my partner and I had fought for for many years (we are straight, but stand in solidarity, as all people committed to love should). I felt extremely lucky to be so close to Albany during the final weeks of deliberation of the bill. As the vote neared, I traveled to the capitol everyday immediately after work and held a sign saying "Marriage is a Civil Right!" and sang songs and chanted and stomped and clapped my hands among wonderful new friends. And every time a senator passed by, we confronted him or her (usually "him," unfortunately). We flooded their emails and answering machines with messages. On the day of the vote, I rallied at the capitol for a few hours then caught a bus to NYC. As I arrived at home to my loving partner the senate was debating the bill. We watched it live along with 50,000 other New Yorkers as the State Senate voted to approve the Marriage Equality Act of 2011! That evening we walked down to the historic Stonewall Inn for a rally, and ended up making many wonderful friends there! A few days later we marched along with tens of thousands of others in the city's Gay Pride Parade. It was, hands down, some of the most euphoric days of 2011, and of my entire life. Because while I am not new to advocacy and public protest, it is a rare thing indeed to actually win, and to win so big. And for tens of thousands of loving couples in New York State, it was worth it.


At the Hudson Pride Parade, June 18, 2011

Beautiful ladies at the Hudson Pride Parade, June 18, 2011

Passing the historic Stonewall Inn, the NYC Gay Pride Parade, June 26, 2011. This was just two days after New York State passed the Marriage Equality Act.

In July 2011, I moved back to NYC for the remainder of the summer, and wrote up my post about the marriage equality fight and how I was trying to continue my orals prep though it all.

I also began breaking down some of the 2010 U.S. Census data on Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, which is pretty interesting stuff.

On July 29-31, 2011, we camped out on the North Fork of Long Island, an annual tradition. Down at the beach I photographed people fishing in the Long Island Sound.

I photographed peaches at an orchard near our campsite. (We bought many!)

And I photographed piping plovers looking for washed-up snacks in the sand.

In August 2011, I continued breaking down U.S. Census data, actually finding out some of the answers to the questions I could not answer in my July post.

Also in August I finished teaching my course on "Pacific Islands: Histories of Paradise" at SUNY-Stony Brook. It was the first time I had taught an undergraduate course on Pacific history. I wrote about my teaching philosophy and methodology, and mused about the results of it all in late August after the course had just ended. In the end, it was so much fun teaching the class. I had a wonderful group of engaged and smart and charismatic students, and of course, I feel very passionately about the topic, so somehow the 3.5 hour classes just flew by each week! I would teach the course again in a heartbeat. One of the great things I learned this summer is that I love teaching. I have chosen the right career path!

On August 28, 2011, Hurricane Irene hit my fiancee's hometown in the upstate New York. The Hudson River crested the riverbank and flooded the shore.

In New York City, people thought Hurricane Irene was a dud. But it caused extensive damage in small towns all across upstate New York. August 28, 2011.

September 2011 went by without a post - the first month ever without writing a post.

In the calm of early September...
Sept. 10, 2011, we visited Ocean City, New Jersey. It was a beautiful evening for amusement park rides!

And walking on the boardwalk, Sept. 10, 2011

We arrived back in New York City on the evening of September 11, 2011, the ten-year anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center. It was such a humid and misty evening. I found the huge spotlights eerie and beautiful. And the rising Freedom Tower looked like one of those red, white, and blue popsicles we used to eat as kids.

Something remarkable happened in September in New York City, and it is worth flashing back to that moment, six months ago, to put the last six months in perspective.

On September 17, 2011, as many as 5,000 Americans gathered on Wall Street in lower Manhattan to begin what was perhaps the most ambitious public protest in recent American history. They committed to come to Wall Street, to "occupy" it, and to not let it go until the U.S. financial system was restructured in some way to hold big banks accountable for tanking the economy and to ensure that the other 99% of Americans have access to the same political power as the moneyed 1%.

I actually did not hear about Occupy Wall Street until after the pepper-spraying incident on September 26. But where was my mind at the time, I don't know... Caught up in the whirlwind of the fall semester then in its early weeks? I heard about the Occupy Wall Street protestors, but I didn't think even once of joining them.

But in the last few days of September I noticed more and more of my friends posting supportive messages on social media about the movement.

Then, on October 1, seven hundred protestors were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge. I heard about it that evening at a dinner party. It sounded to me, like it did to everyone I knew, like the NYPD had lost their marbles. Why on Earth arrest seven hundred people? Well, no matter what their reasons, the NYPD's actions put OWS on the map, and nationwide media began taking notice. And I did, too.

On October 5, I joined my first OWS event, a march from Foley Square to Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park) with union allies. Among 5,000 others, I helped occupy Zuccotti Park (if only for an hour of my time!). Walking through the park, from the kitchen, to the library, to the medical station, and among many, many small groups of people talking together about their hopes and dreams and practical plans of action, I was truly inspired by what I witnessed. Young and old, black and white, gay and straight (although recognizing that there were perhaps too many straight white men represented overall), I saw a community forming that had never quite formed like this before. I remember that my first impression of the occupation of Liberty Square was, "this is what Tiananmen must have felt like." Of course, Tiananmen was tens of times larger, both in the size of the space and the number of students and workers participating. But the spirit was similar to everything I had read and seen about the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. I only hoped that the outcome would be very different. And it has been, thank God.

In October 2011, actually just a few days after the Oct. 5 march, I wrote a post calling for an occupation of Stony Brook, the university where I study and teach. If you wonder why I thought this was a good idea, you have to read the post.

I doubt anyone was influenced by the post, except myself. In a sense it was a cop-out post, because, as I stated quite clearly, I didn't feel like I was in any position to actually start an occupation of the university. As a graduate student, but also an instructor, I couldn't really make sense of where I fit in there. I hoped that undergraduate students would take the lead, and then I could give support where needed. In fact, some students did take the lead. In October an Occupy Stony Brook coalition was formed, and while they are not physically occupying space, they have put on events and are attempting to engage the campus community on important issues.

The Occupation of Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park), as it was on October 14, 2011. This multi-faith religious space was maintained by occupiers in the northwest corner of the square.

In November 2011, I wrote about my ongoing language study: first Chinese, then Hawaiian, then back to Chinese, and now a little Spanish.

And for Thanksgiving, I gave thanks to the Occupy Wall Street movement, and to my friends and family who have supported the movement. If you are interested in what went down between October 5 and November 17 in the occupation of New York City, please read my post where you will find lots of photos and videos as well.

I should say, Thanksgiving was a real turning point for me and my relationship with the movement. I went upstate for a week and came back tired rather than refreshed. I was a bit tired, as everyone was, from the previous week when both the occupation at Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park) was evicted by the NYPD on Nov. 15, and then over 30,000 protestors converged on NYC to shut down Wall Street on Nov. 17.

The Occupation of Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park) as it was, on a bitter cold morning, November 5, 2011.

And the semester wrapped up in December 2011. And I, beginning research for my current project on Hawaiian labor in nineteenth-century California, wrote a post about the way "Kanakas" have been represented in American history.

In the wake of the Nov. 15 eviction of Occupy Wall Street from Liberty Square, occupiers sought a new location - for many of them were homeless and had no where else to go. A group of young men and women conducted a hunger strike to pressure Trinity Church into giving OWS access to their unused private lot at Duarte Square. Trinity Church would not comply. December 17, 2011.

But the creative energy of Occupy Wall Street continued through the winter. A puppet show at Duarte Square. December 17, 2011.

As for 2012? The first month, January, was all about final preparations for my oral examination, which I passed in early February 2012. A few weeks after passing the exam, I wrote a little update on the whole Ph.D. thing, announcing my near-candidacy (if I can say so), having completed all the requirements for the Ph.D. but for approval of the dissertation proposal, and then approval of the actual dissertation!

A patriotic protestor holds an Occupy Wall Street banner and an American flag in front of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in NYC. Mitt Romney was inside hosting a $2,500-a-plate fundraiser for his presidential campaign. March 14, 2011.

It has been awfully nice to put my language exam and oral exam behind me. This semester I have committed most of my energy to writing my dissertation prospectus, continuing work on my history of Hawaiian laborers in California, and flirting with reengagement with social and political issues. And that's where things stand now in March 2012.

What's Next?

Hard to say.

I may teach a class this summer on "Dirty and Dangerous Jobs in American History." Actually, I probably will teach the class - one that I've designed myself. The course bridges labor and environmental histories of the United States, from the colonial period to the present day. And it will include some pretty cool assignments (like having students investigate and write about a workplace of their choosing, preferably their own worksite or a family member's, to keep it safe and within the law, of course), and we will watch some pretty cool films (like Salt of the Earth. Heard of that one? It's worth a watch).

I may go to Hawaiʻi. It all depends on funds. If I do go, I'll visit the University of Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiʻi State Archives, the Bishop Museum, and other institutions on Oʻahu seeking out primary documents in both English and Hawaiian from the nineteenth century. If I go, it will be fun, and extremely productive, although I will miss home.

And I am getting married this summer!!! And honeymooning in Peru!!!
(When I am much older and I look back at 2012, I am sure the most vivid memories I will retain will be of the joy I felt in marrying the love of my life!)

The next year, really the next few two or three years, will be committed primarily to researching and writing my dissertation. Expect updates on that project again and again and again. And as I visit archives and historic sites, and look through primary sources, I hope I can post about these adventures on this blog, for those passionate about historical research, and for those who just like good detective stories, for that's what "doing history" is all about.

As for Occupy Wall Street? Tomorrow (March 17, 2012) marks exactly six months since the occupation began (Sep. 17, 2011). Will we see an American Spring? I am so curious to know, and so hopeful to see a great change occur, that you can be sure I will be there.

Spring is Coming. Re-occupying Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park), March 15, 2011.

I am more committed than ever to taking photographs of Occupy Wall Street events and making videos of marches, rallies, and arrests. I don't know, I guess it's just the historian in me. I want to contribute to the historical record, and I want someday in the future to be able to look back and see what was accomplished.

I do not currently have a public photo-streaming site, but I am regularly posting videos here.

Here's to a great 2012 everyone! I wish all my friends and loved ones the best!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mapping Hawaiian Labor History, Part II

Last year, in a post called "Mapping Hawaiian Labor History," I linked to a Google Map that I created showing the hometowns and worksite of 56 Hawaiian men who in 1859 were recorded as living and laboring upon Jarvis Island in the equatorial Central Pacific. At that time I was writing about Hawaiian migrant labor in the U.S. guano industry, and I wanted to see how mapping my data might provide new ways of seeing this history.

Now I am working on a related project: Hawaiian migrant labor in nineteenth-century California. And I've made some new maps. But I did not turn to Google this time. Instead I made the maps myself using the crudest of computer paint programs. And I think they turned out just perfect!

Intro to the Map Data

Readers will know that I am quite interested in censuses. I have posted three times about data on Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the 2000 and 2010 censuses. And in a post this past winter, I wrote a bit about what it is like to come across multiple pages in the 19th-century U.S. censuses filled with nameless "Kanakas" instead of individual people with given names.

Anyway, I am now using nineteenth-century federal census schedules, along with English and Hawaiian language newspaper articles, to figure out just how many Hawaiians came to California during and after the Gold Rush, why they came, what they did in California, how they organized themselves in California, what their family lives were like, how their economic situations changed, and how many stayed on, and how many returned home to Hawaiʻi.

It is exceedingly hard to locate evidence to answer many of these questions. For example, without looking at Hawaiian Kingdom censuses as well (which I have yet to do), how can we know how many Hawaiians (and which ones) returned home from California, when they returned, and what they returned to? We have qualitative data in the English and Hawaiian language newspapers about individual travelers, but less aggregate data about all travelers. (Although there are some files in Honolulu that will help shed light on this problem once I get there to do my research.)

Similarly, the available data only provides glimpses into the complex lives of the hundreds of Hawaiians who traveled to, lived in, and worked in California in the nineteenth century. For example, federal censuses in 1850, 1860, and 1870 catch the U.S. population at a glance, during one particular moment in time once every ten years. But how many Hawaiians came and went to and through California between those moments? The censuses cannot tell us that information. A huge problem exists in making sense of San Francisco for example, where, not only were the records for 1850 destroyed by fire, but where tens of thousands of people passed through in the 1850s, during the Gold Rush, but may not have actually been there in either 1850 or 1860 when a census was taken. (Note that the state of California also took its own census in 1852, but I have not used that data.) I have read in a few books that in the decade before the Gold Rush that Yerba Buena (what would become the city of San Francisco) had a rather large Hawaiian population. And it stands to reason that as San Francisco became the preeminent maritime port for passengers and cargo in the 1850s, that hundreds of Hawaiian sailors working on American ships would have spent at least some time there. But no hard data on these numbers exist.

What is necessary is to compare the available census data from each decade (1850, 1860, and 1870) with the qualitative data, to see if the stories reflected in both censuses and newspapers match up. If Hawaiians were saying that there were X number of people living in Y region in the year 1858, do we see any remnant of that in 1860?

This post does not intend to take the analysis of the census data to that level. That awaits the dissertation. For now, I just want to share my maps!

How the Maps were Made

It's actually quite simple. I used websites such as FamilySearch and Ancestry.com to locate all people 1) born in the "Sandwich Islands," or derivative names such as "S Islands," "Sandwich Isles," "Hawaiian Islands," "Hawaii," "Oahu," "Honolulu," etc., and 2) residing in California. This search, within the federal censuses of 1850, 1860, and 1870 (I am now working on 1880, but that data is not included here), provided hundreds of search results. But not all were what I was looking for.

For you see, even as early as 1850, but more so as the decades progressed, there were non-Hawaiian people who were born in Hawaiʻi who lived in California. These people are not ethnically Hawaiian, yet they show up in my search results. If I was interested in mapping all people "born in Hawaiʻi" who lived in California, then my job would be much easier. I could accept all the data. But I am actually interested in only mapping those people who are Native Hawaiian (Kanaka Maoli), not just anyone born in Hawaiʻi.

It is actually quite hard to determine who was ethnically Hawaiian, and who was haole (a foreigner). In the 1880 data we have the benefit of seeing the birthplace of each individual's father and mother. If both father and mother were born elsewhere (not in Hawaiʻi), but the individual was born in Hawaiʻi, we can safely assume (with a minor margin of error, of course) that the person was not ethnically Hawaiian. For if he or she was, it would mean that at least one of his or her parents had to have been Hawaiian. And if our person X was born circa 1860, then their parents would have been circa 1840 or earlier, and it was exceedingly rare for an ethnically Hawaiian person to be born in the United States that early. Don't get me wrong — it happened. But it is so rare that we can at least use this crude way of determining Hawaiian vs. haole to get at least close to the data that we seek to find.

In 1870, the census only lists if a person's parents were of foreign birth or not, not where his or her parents were born. So we can perform the same trick with this data, but it is that much harder. I feel like I came across many entries in 1870 where simply because the person was born in the "Sandwich Islands," his or her parents were naturally assumed to also be of foreign birth. This even happened with little haole kids born to American parents in Hawaiʻi. The parents were listed right above the child, and yet still the child was listed as having two "foreign" parents. Were these mistakes? Instances of a hurried and tired census enumerator just checking the "foreign parent" boxes whenever someone was born abroad? Or were these actually ethnically Hawaiian children adopted by white American families? There is no good way to tell, but generally if the child was listed as belonging to two white parents, and it was a somewhat nuclear family household, I assumed the child was haole. There are some cases however, where a family has many, many children, from all over the world. In some cases I have determined based on the evidence that Native Hawaiian children were in fact living in these households, apparently as adoptees, but also sometimes as servant girls and servant boys.

In the 1850 and 1860 censuses, there is no information on parentage. So how can we know if someone born in Hawaiʻi was actually Native Hawaiian? Again we can see who these individuals live with. Young children born in Hawaiʻi to American parents are again assumed to be haole. But there is also a "race" or "color" category on these federal censuses that can be used, but with extreme caution. In the early censuses the "color" options were "white," "black," and "mulatto." Almost all Hawaiians in 1850 and 1860 were either recored as "white" or their race was not recorded at all. In 1860, though, there are a handful of "black" Hawaiians, "mulatto" Hawaiians, and "Indian" Hawaiians, but I have not yet analyzed this data. Keep in mind that census enumerators (most likely Euro-American men) went around and collected this information. They were the ones deciding what "race" or "color" people were. Only in the 1870 and 1880 censuses did the "races" become more defined, with five options: "white," "black," "mulatto," "Chinese," and "Indian." Here we find most Hawaiians still listed as "white," but also some "blacks," "mulattos," and "Indians," plus made-up categories such as "Col" for "Colored," "P" for "Polynesian"(?), and "K" for "Kanaka"(?). If the enumerator labeled the person as anything other than "white," we can assume that he or she was ethnically Hawaiian — at least part-Hawaiian. Only in the "white" cases do we have to look closer, although most are, I believe, just as "Hawaiian" as the "black" and "mulatto" Hawaiians were. (As a side note, I have read in some historians' accounts that Hawaiians were at times racialized as "Chinese" on the U.S. west coast. I find this very interesting, but I have never found evidence of such practices in the censuses. FamilySearch and Ancestry.com will sometimes label these people as "Chinese" in their digitization of the records, but if you examine the actual manuscript schedules it is clear that census enumerators were using the label "C" under race to mean "Colored" for these men and women. There is always some extra note somewhere on the ledger specifying these men as "Natives," "Islanders," or "Kanakas.")

Another complicating factor is how to locate, and how to count, people of mixed heritage. In Hawaiʻi, people of mixed European and Hawaiian descent are sometimes called hapa haole, which roughly translates as "half white." For my purposes, anyone of any Native Hawaiian descent in nineteenth-century California should be classified as Hawaiian. There are two reasons for this. One, because when these people lived and worked in California, if they were even part-Hawaiian, or looked part-Hawaiian, they were considered "colored," just as people of African descent in the United States, even if only marginally African, were considered "colored" (the so-called "one drop rule"). There is a conflict between this assertion and the prevalence of "white" Hawaiians in the censuses, but I can't work that out right now. My evidence here is rather anecdotal, such as in the case of William Heath Davis, a famous hapa haole Hawaiian who pioneered early California. In the censuses he is consistently labeled as "white," and in 1880 he lists both of his parents' birthplaces as in the United States (which I think is true), but in fact he was 1/4 Native Hawaiian (his mother was half-Hawaiian), and Davis could never shake the nickname given to him by whites in California: "Kanaka Bill." From what I have gathered, he tried to "pass" as white his entire life, but some people continued to see him as "Kanaka." Incidentally, he had a fair number of 1/8-Hawaiian kids in California. I have also counted them as "Hawaiian" in my data. It is not up to historians to say who was "really" Hawaiian or not. One's identity is a form of expression governed by one's self, and one's self only. Davis may have struggled with his "Kanaka" identity for his entire life, but for our purposes it is best to include him and his offspring as Hawaiians. My job as the historian is simply to weed out the absolutely not-Hawaiian people from the 1-100% otherwise Hawaiian people who may or may not have identified, or been identified, as "Kanakas" at the time.

My second point here is that by the period 1850-1880, there had only been one or two generations of intermarriage between Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians (actually probably more, especially the bastard children of haole sailors from the late 18th and early 19th centuries), so there is a good sense that most of the people coming from Hawaiʻi to California during this period were either fully Native Hawaiian, half-Hawaiian, or fully haole, but with little wiggle-room in between these categories — or at least less wiggle-room than exists today. (1/4-Hawaiian William Heath Davis was, I believe, the exception to this rule.) For my data, I have assumed that every non-haole Hawaiian arriving in California during this period was 100% Hawaiian, unless I knew more information such as with Davis. This has allowed me to at least try to map out the Hawaiian children born in California as well. I have not found as many California-born Hawaiian people during this period (1850-1880) as I assume actually were born, but I have found at least 60-70 kids overall, and I have been able to guess how many of them were fully Hawaiian, hapa haole, half-Native American, 1/4-Hawaiian, and so on, to the best of my ability.

I could actually go on and on about the caveats with this data, and I encourage readers to comment and let me know how to improve this methodology, or at least we can discuss all that is so problematic about it, especially when it comes down to things like determining who was "really" Hawaiian or not.

So, in summary, I threw out all the suspected haole from my search results and I have mapped the remainder. There are two ways to map this data: 1) to map all the people born in Hawaiʻi living in California at any given time, or 2) to map all the Hawaiian people in California at any given time. The latter option means including the California-born children of Hawaiian parentage. The amount of children is statistically insignificant for 1850 and 1860, so I have only made the latter type of map for the 1870 data.

Now How the Maps were REALLY Made...

I thought of using some fancy GIS software for this, but then decided against it. The most important reason against using GIS is that the county-level data I am working with do not conform to today's modern political geography. California counties have changed shape and size over time, especially during the period 1850 to 1880, so I had to in fact create new base line maps that would take into account the changing shape of these counties. (The other reason I do county-level data here is because the town/city-level data is unreliable for the earlier periods [1850 and 1860]. And although it is quite good for the 1870 and 1880 data, of course counties are easier to see on an entire map of California than small townships are. So I went with county-level data for my maps.)

I downloaded a base "California counties" map from Wikimedia Commons, and started messing around with it. It turned out to be pretty easy to reshape the counties with my computer's paint tools. (Although, note that I did not change the borders of a county unless there was data to plot for that county.) To show my data I needed a color scheme, and I decided that I would use a red color gradient, from light to dark, to show population density for each county. My data ranged from N=1 to N=113, and I had to round things off at both extremes. N=113 became 100% on my color gradient, and N=1 through N=5 were all mapped as 5% on my color gradient because if I made it any lighter it could hardly be seen. Since most counties usually had anywhere between 1 and 5 Hawaiians living there at any given time, these small differences are unfortunately lost in the maps. But how can you show the difference between 1 and 5 when you need to show the difference between 1 and 113, as well?

Again, there are a lot of problems with these maps, but I have become tired of explaining away my problems and my inadequate solutions to them! So, without further ado, presenting...

...the Maps!

1850: Total Number of Hawaiians = 230
(including California-born children = 235)
(Remember that the data for San Francisco County was destroyed by fire, and there were probably scores of Hawaiians living and working there in 1850.)
The top county here is Sutter County, with 113 Hawaiians.


1860: Total Number of Hawaiians = 71
(including California-born children = 76)
The top county here is El Dorado County, with 28 Hawaiians.


1870: Total Number of Hawaiians = 140
(including California-born children = 205)
The top county here is San Francisco County, with 23 Hawaiians.


Here is 1870 mapped WITH CHILDREN, adding 65 people to the data.
1870: Total Number of Hawaiians (including California-born children) = 205
The top county here is still San Francisco County, now with 40 Hawaiians.


Final Thoughts

I hope you found these maps interesting. Please leave me a comment if you have any particular questions or comments regarding these maps or the methodology I have used, or if there are other types of mappings of Hawaiian history that you would like to see. If I have the data, I am open to mapping it.

My final thought here is just how incredibly small these numbers are. From newspaper sources, it is clear that many Hawaiians who traveled to California became sick and died, but also some lucky ones were able to return home; both of these instances would mean taking numbers away from the California census data. This might suggest that most of the Hawaiians we see each decade (1850, 1860, 1870, etc.) are new names and faces, and that there was quite a bit of migration in and out of California during these decades that is unaccounted for in the censuses. If so, then we can easily imagine that the total number of Hawaiians who ever lived in California during the period 1850-1880 was in the high hundreds if not over one thousand. Or perhaps many thousands! We just don't know. The total Hawaiian population (as counted in Hawaiʻi) was about 70-80,000 in 1850, and 65,000 in 1860. That number descended to about 40,000 in 1890. So even if we assume that there were 300 Hawaiians in California in 1850, that would be only 0.4% of the total Hawaiian population. Yet if we half the population and take only Hawaiian men (for in 1850 over 95% of Hawaiian migrants to California were male), then California-resident Hawaiians comprised 0.8% of the male population. Taking into account that thousands of other Hawaiians were at the same time serving aboard American whaling ships, etc., and others were in Oregon and elsewhere in the United States, in fact maybe 5% (N=2,000) or more of Hawaiian men were not in Hawaiʻi in 1850, and thus the migration to California was hard felt as part of a larger pattern of outmigration (as evidenced in newspapers and government documents from the period).

Today, more Pacific Islander Americans live in California than in Hawaiʻi, and that may or may not hold true specifically for Native Hawaiians as well. Hundreds of thousands of people of Hawaiian ancestry live in California today, compared to just hundreds back then. And yet in some ways, the couple of hundreds of Hawaiians in California during the Gold Rush era were more remarked upon by the general public than today's hundreds of thousands of Hawaiians. The change in numbers, though, is staggering. To think that there are more Hawaiians in California today than there were in all of Hawaiʻi one hundred and fifty years ago! That's crazy! Or to think that there are more Native Hawaiians in a private correctional facility in Eloy, Arizona today (N=932) than there ever were at any one time in the entire state of California in the entire nineteenth century! That's also crazy.

Emigration and diaspora remain important concerns of the lāhui Hawaiʻi (the Hawaiian nation) to this day. I hope that my dissertation research on nineteenth-century Hawaiian migrant labor can help add to this conversation.