Cameron House - Chinatown
The Cameron House was a Presbyterian Mission house in San Francisco's Chinatown. In the late 19th and early 20th century the Chinese immigration stories were usually pretty horrible. Women were sold into slavery and prostitution. Immigrants were taken advantage of in the court systems and they would often be detained at Angel Island for a long time before being allowed entry into the US. Donaldina Cameron was quite a spirited woman who made it her personal mission to rescue as many of the Chinese girls as possible. She would climb fire escapes, barge into brothels, and do anything necessary to rescue the girls. She would bring them to the building which is now named after her and give them security, education, and room and board. She would interview potential suitors to ensure their intentions were good and would hide the girls if a slave owner came looking for them. After the 1906 earthquake she went back into the building against the orders of the authorities to rescue the girls legal guardianship papers as the fires burned through Chinatown. The building is still in use as a community center today!
By Liz Galpin
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