Answered By: Ruth Steele
Last Updated: Feb 27, 2023     Views: 365

Known and frequently accessed resources about the 1907 Bellingham anti-South Asian riot and violence include:

Local government archival records (Washington State Archives, Northwest Regional Branch):

  • City of Bellingham Council Records.
  • Whatcom County Sheriff’s Jail Register (records of arrests for rioting).
  • Bicentennial Oral Histories (Washington Secretary of State’s Office Project). Select interviews include references to the 1907 riots. Copies of transcripts available. 

Local area newspapers from 1907, including:

  • The Bellingham Herald.
    • Available on microfilm via Western Washington University library, Bellingham Public Library, or the Washington State Library (State Library microform can be borrowed via Interlibrary Loan)
    • Bellingham Public Library cardholders can access digitized 1903-1923 issues of the Bellingham Herald as part of its “Newspapers.com – West Collection”. More information and access for card-holders available under the “Search Historic Newspapers” tab on this webpage: https://www.bellinghampubliclibrary.org/digital-library/newspapers (Instructions for obtaining a library card: https://www.bellinghampubliclibrary.org/using-the-library/library-cards)
    • Although WWU’s Center for Pacific Northwest Studies holds some related original format copies of the Bellingham Herald for September 1907, due to the extreme fragility of these issues, researchers are asked to consult digitized or microfilm copies for reporting about the 1907 riot.
  • The Morning Reveille and Evening American.
    • Available on microfilm from the Washington State Library.
    • Although WWU’s Center for Pacific Northwest Studies holds some related original format copies of the Morning Reveille and Evening American, due to the extreme fragility of these issues, researchers are asked to consult digitized or microfilm copies for reporting about the 1907 riot whenever possible. Select, digitized copies of Morning Reveille and Evening American reporting related to the riots (September 5-11, 1907) are available on request to the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies.
  • Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/.  Keyword-searchable access to *select* microfilmed historic newspapers that have been digitized and placed online. At the time this FAQ was updated, Bellingham newspapers from 1907 were not included - other local and regional newspapers, however, also carried stories about the riots and violence in Whatcom County. 

Other materials at WWU’s Center for Pacific Northwest Studies:

  • In the Archives Building Reference Library, one subject file including a small number of articles and newspaper clippings. http://onesearch.library.wwu.edu/WWU:CP71134637650001451 
  • Bellingham Bay Improvement Company records, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. BBIC owned and operated a mill on the Bellingham waterfront. There is one letter among the BBIC's records making brief reference to the violent events of September 1907 (a copy of this letter is included in the “subject file” referenced above).

Additional Related Resources:

  • Seattle Labor History & Civil Rights Project website http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/bham_intro.htm  Includes a special section about the 1907 Bellingham Race riots, including a bibliography, links to digitized resources
  • 21st century reporting, community conversations and articles, including around the centennial commemorations of the riot in 2007, and the 2018 installation of the downtown Bellingham Arch of Healing and Reconciliation. For example:
  • Sikh History of Bellingham” presentation to Whatcom County Historical Society by Satpal Singh Sidhu and Dr. Paul Englesberg, March 8, 2018.  
  • We Are Not Strangers Documentary film funded by Guru Nanak Gursikh temple of Lynden in commemoration of the 100 year anniversary of the 1907 riots in Bellingham.
  • South Asian American Digital Archives – Digital objects re: Washington State  https://www.saada.org/browse/state/Washington (includes access to the 2007 documentary film “Present In All That We Do” re: the 1907 riots and immigrant rights)
  • Wing Luke Museum pan-Asian Pacific American community-based museum in Seattle, WA.