American Experience

San Francisco’s Bubonic Plague Cover-up

Clip: Season 34 Episode 4 | 3m 58s

As rumor spread of bubonic plague in San Francisco, newspapers couldn't agree if it was a nationwide threat or a plot to destroy the economy. Sound familiar?

Aired: 05/24/22

Rating: NR

Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning

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The Chinese Six Companies


The Chinese Six Companies

On May 28, 1900, San Francisco policemen formed a perimeter around Chinatown as officials diagnosed bubonic plague in the neighborhood and wanted to quarantine the nearly 20,000 residents. As tensions flared, an influential group of merchants known as the Chinese Six Companies sprang into action.