Using the testimonio of Manuel Lee Mancilla, a Chinese Mexican man born in Mexicali in 1921, this article explores the experiences of the Chinese in northern Mexico in the early 1900s. It examines the conditions under which Chinese immigrants came to and helped build new borderland communities and simultaneously recovers the day-to-day relationships that were negotiated and nurtured there. Meaningful moments of Chinese Mexican cooperation emerged amid intense conflict and despite the anti-Chinese campaigns of the Mexican Revolution and the infamous Sonoran purges of the 1930s. Challenging static notions of ethnic and racial identities and relations, and analyzing the anti-Chinese movements in less monolithic terms, this article examines not only how Chinese and Mexicans weathered revolutionary violence and xenophobia but also the turbulent forces of U.S. capital and labor exploitation on both sides of the border.
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