Each day at noon, the little children emerge from their classroom at the San Pedro-street school and tramp off to their respective homes to have a nutritious lunch en famille. Dear little creatures, some barely old enough to walk, who spend their days in learning what life is all about, and the skills they’ll need to navigate this fresh new city they are lucky enough to be citizens of.
On this particular day, the wee ones engaged in their favorite noontime activity, the tormenting of a Chinese vegetable peddler whose route regrettably takes him near to their school. The children fell upon his wagon, snatching up potatoes with which to pelt the… well, he was not a man, exactly, he was a Celestial, in the parlance of the day.
Enraged, the victim ran at the diminutive mob, waving his blacksnake whip and shrieking invective. What else could you expect from a savage? All the children scattered, save one terrified three-year-old boy. The vendor obligingly whipped the child about the head and the feet, compelling a passing white man to grab the whip and knock the Chinese to the ground. No one was badly hurt, and the parade moved on — just a typical happening in 1896 LA for all concerned.
Photo credit: Chan Yip Leung, a fruit and vegetable peddler next to wagon, 1914 (LAPL)