Defeat of the Bingham Ordinance 1890

In 1890 San Francisco Supervisor Henry Bingham introduced a resolution to force residents into segregated neighborhoods. Believing Chinatown was “a cancer on the city,” and wanting to claim the prime real estate it occupied, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the resolution with the Mayor’s approval. The Bingham Ordinance, as it came to be known, required all Chinese living or working in the city to move their homes and businesses within 60 days to an area reserved for slaughterhouses and other “unhealthful” businesses. Re Lee Sing was the first case to test the legality of the ordinance that would have displaced tens of thousands of Chinese. California Circuit Court Judge Sawyer struck down the law as a violation of the 14th Amendment.