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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Mixed-Race Child's Fate Under the Chinese Exclusion Act: Lawrence Kentwell's Fight for Inclusion in Local Politics and Legal Profession


The infamous Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 ostracized persons of Chinese descent and foreclosed the possibility for Chinese persons who were not born in the United States to obtain naturalization. This Article uncovers the story of Lawrence Klindt Kentwell, a Eurasian of English and Chinese descent who spent his formative years in Hawaii. Because of his Chinese blood, he was excluded from local politics in Hawaii and had no chance at entering the legal profession in the United States. The raw racism he experienced in the United States compelled him to identify strongly with his Chinese roots, leading him to leave his adopted home for good.

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