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Deadwood | Cooperation and Conflict

by Johanna M. Blume, Eiteljorg assistant curator | May 04, 2015

 P_38839- deadwood south dakota
Deadwood, South Dakota, ca. 1876
Photographer: Howard
Image courtesy of Braun Research Library Collection, Autry National Center, Los Angeles; P.38839
 
Chinamen had no rights in the Hills that the whites were bound to respect, but it is different now. The celestials receive the same protection in our courts of law that white men are favored with.
Black Hills Daily Times, October 23, 1877

The white man is in the Black Hills like maggots, and I want you to get them out as quick as you can. The chief of all thieves (General Custer) made a road into the Black Hills last summer, and I want the Great Father to pay the damages for what Custer has done.
—Baptiste Good, 1875

Like many gold rush communities, Deadwood was a hub of human activity. Its population was diverse, composed of immigrants drawn by the gold discovery from far and wide to a region that had already been home to the Lakota for generations.

In some cases, people from different backgrounds found ways to cooperate with one another. For example, the Chinese population of Deadwood found an ally in Jewish businessman Solomon Star. During his twenty-two years as mayor, Star did much to protect the interests and traditions of the Chinese community. In other cases, people could not surmount their differences and conflict ensued. Deadwood was illegally located on Lakota land, and hostilities between the town’s new residents and the Lakota persisted for many years.02678u- the race

  The Race. The Great Hub-and-Hub Race at Deadwood, Dak., July 4, 1888, Between the Only Two Chinese Hose Teams in the United States, 1888
Photgrapher: John C. H. Grabill
Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division; LC-DIG-ppmsc-02678

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