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Word Count: 417
THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD Lalu was a Chinese-American pioneer woman who overcomes poverty footbinding and slavery to build a life of relative freedom in the American Northwest From Shanghai to San Francisco Lalus courageous journey was an important contribution to the history of Asian pioneer women on the American frontier Lalu is first sold to a brothel and then to a slave merchant bound for America before being auctioned to a saloonkeeper and finally offered as a prize in a pokergame where Charlie won her So at the beginning Lalu was sold into slavery in 1871 by her poverty-stricken family and auctioned off in the American West McCumn tells the gripping tale of how Lalu refused to be mistress pawn or chattel to any of the men who owned her and how she struggled out of sernitude to ahcieve a life of freedom and dignity as a pioneer woman Lalus innate self-esteem is her only protection in the wilderness American laws deny Chinese men citizenship they are wanted mostly for cheap labor and women are viewed as even more insignificant And there were no women in Chinatown which Chinese-women couldnt buy a property ownership and thats why Charlie bought the land in behalf of her Lalu nicknamed China Polly by the cowboys who cannot be bothered to pronounce her name is saved from proctitution but then becomes Hong Kings slave until her husbands white partner a genial alcoholic named Charlie explains to her that slavery has been outlawed But Lalu found out from a black man who was a customer in Hong Kings saloon Charlie a good man when he doesnt drink too much is attracted to Polly but she dreams only of buying her freedom and returning to China Then Hong King short of funds
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