Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bing King Tong Building, Isleton, California

In Isleton, in the Sacramento River Delta, resting on a strong foundation there stands a building—a beacon leaning over the river. Called the Bing Kong Tong, it is an edifice that stands as a memorial to the prominent presence of the early Chinese.

Tongs were secret societies with initiation rites, passwords, oaths of allegiance, religious rituals and designated styles of clothing. They maintained an educated and informed membership. All news, including national, Chinese and local was carefully monitored. English classes were given.

In Isleton the Bing King Tong arose and was kindly referred to as the "Chinese Masons." It was strong also in Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In its heyday, the Bing King was headed by Wong Du King also known as Kai Yee or "Godfather."

2003 CONFERENCE of California Historical Societies; University of the Pacific; Stockton, CA 95211.


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