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ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN
HISTORICAL TIMELINE DETAILS (1920 to 1929)

Our victories, obstacles and leaders

Discover additional specific info on the many links (outlined in "red" or "blue") listed below


Albert Johnson
Albert Johnson (1869 - 1957) rose from his position as editor of the Daily Washingtonian, based in Hoquiam, Washington, to become one of the most powerful Republican congressional leaders in the United States. He served in the House of Representatives from (March 4, 1913 to his defeat in the 1932 election when Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democrats were swept into power. Johnson's congressional career spanned 20 years, climaxing in 1924 with the passage of the Johnson-Reed Act, which applied a stringent quota system to American immigration policies.

According to historian Alfred J. Hillier, the future congressman used his 11 years on Puget Sound to "study" Japanese immigrants. As future events bore out, his "study" was actually the development of his intense hatred for all non-Northern European peoples, a hatred that, through his growing political power, Johnson turned into the official immigration policy of the United States during the 1920s.

His two defining characteristics of both his life in Hoquiam (his hometown) and his service as congressman were his militant opposition to radical labor unions and his hatred of immigrants.

Johnson established a second newspaper, the Home Defender, in May 1912 that allowed his express his opinions such as: "The greatest menace to the Republic today is the open door it affords to the ignorant hordes from Eastern and Southern Europe, whose lawlessness flourishes and civilization is ebbing into barbarism" (Willis, "Henry McCleary".

His views on immigration can be read in his stated words "The character of immigration has changed and the newcomers are imbued with lawless, restless sentiments of anarchy and collectivism. They arrive to find their hopes too high, the land almost gone and themselves driven to drown into the cities and struggle for a living. Then anarchy becomes rife among them" - Johnson, "Put Up the Bars.

He joined many of his congressional colleaguesin supporting the deportation of immigrant radicals, especially anarchists and anyone who advocated "sabotage" as a means for achieving social change.

Between 1913 and 1918, Johnson served as a minority member of the House Immigration Committee, where he pursued the study of various racist ideologies, including eugenics (the idea, now repudiated by science, that among Homo sapiens there were superior and inferior genetic types).

Johnson had a history of racial agitation in Washington State, having participated in anti-“Hindu” (South Asian) activities in Grays Harbor, and bragged about participating in a 1913 riot that forced hundreds of South Asians in Bellingham, Washington to flee the United States for Canada.[4] Johnson also encouraged local anti-Japanese agitation at a Tacoma American Legion meeting less than one month before the 1920 hearings

On April 11, 1921, Johnson introduced a bill setting up a quota system limiting any nationality to only 3 percent of the number counted during the 1910 census that passed both houses of Congress by resounding margins (78 to 1 vote in the Senate). The purpose of this and similar quotas were clear: Since most Northern European immigrants had come to the United States in large numbers prior to 1910, the law would have little effect on the future entry of British, German, Irish, or Scandinavian immigrants, whereas many potential immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe would be barred from entry.

As president of the Eugenic Research Association during 1923-1924, he pushed for the adoption of public policy based on the pseudo-science of eugenics that recognized Northern and Western Europeans as more intelligent, democratic, and more readily assimilable into the United States.

Johnson proposed a new bill, one that used the 1890 census as its benchmark, on March 17, 1924. The bill limited European immigrants to 2 percent of each group's population in this country as of 1890. A ceiling of 150,000 immigrants, drawn almost entirely from the eugenicists' favored nations, was placed as the annual ceiling on immigration. The act excluded from entry anyone born in a geographically defined "Asiatic Barred Zone," which included most of the continent of Asia. A final section of the act banned immigration by groups ineligible for naturalization, a category that included the Japanese. After numerous disagreements between the House, the Senate, and President Coolidge, the measure easily passed both houses and received the president's signature on May 26, 1924.

The Johnson-Reed Act, from 1924 to 1947, only 2,718,006 immigrants came to the United States.
For more info, click HERE

1920
ANTI-JAPANESE CRUSADE & CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS

The committee hearings convened by
Congressman Albert Johnson in 1920 (by that time the once free and unrestricted immigration policy of the United States has been limited, and 8 categories of people were barred from immigrating; contract laborers, Asians - except Japanese and Filipinos, criminals, persons who failed to meet certain moral standards, persons with various diseases, persons likely to become a public charge, certain radicals and illiterate individuals . . . . . . organized labor supported immigrations restrictions while industralists argued that immigration was necessary to provide them with labor or labor that they could afford) on the question of whether to bar Japanese immigration and citizenship claims. Johnson was the co-author of sweeping 1924 legislation that effectively closed America’s borders to non-white immigrants for the next forty years. And his use of hearings in his home district to promote a national version of white supremacy reveals much about the racial politics of post-WWI Seattle and about Seattle’s role in national debates over who could and could not be considered “American." Many people feel that the defeat of the Seattle General Strike of 1919 help paved the way the below-listed anti-labor campaigns.

A George N. Mills article on May 19, 1920 was titled “The Japanese Invasion AND ‘Shinto, the Way of the Gods and stated his desire to “…impress more emphatically on the mind of the American reader the certain disastrous consequences of future Oriental immigration, and why our present policies as regards certain Asiatics should be forever abandoned.” Mills describes the Shinto religion as the basis for life in Japanese culture and government, going so far as to say that, “religion and government in Japan have been one and the same in the past as well as the present.” Mills uses this premise to argue that any person of Japanese heritage who practices the Shinto religion will be ultimately devoted to the government of Japan.

People have stated that Seattle’s Anti-Japanese League took the prevailing insanitiy to waged the campaign of extending the congressional hearings to Washington The League was primarily comprised of members of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Washington State’s Veteran’s Welfare Commission (VFW). The Anti-Japanese League was founded in 1916 by former Washington State legislator and director of the local United States Naval training facility, Miller Freeman - who was appointed to the head of the Washington State VFW by Governor Hart. Freeman had testified before the committee in Washington D.C. in 1919 and was asked by Chairman Johnson to solicit additional anti-Japanese witnesses. In the 1919 testimony, Freeman framed his animosity toward Japanese immigrants in the context of competition for control over the Pacific Rim: “To-day, in my opinion, the Japanese of our country look upon the Pacific coast really as nothing more than a colony of Japan, and the whites as a subject race.”

Anti-Japanese Legislation (1889-1924)
Washington State Constitution, 1889
The prohibition of alien land ownership was included in the original 1889 version of the Washington State constitution. This was not true of the constitutions of other western states with significant alien populations. The primary reason for the alien land article was that the Washington constitution (unlike states that pre-dated Washington) was enacted after the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.

Article II, Section 33 - “OWNERSHIP OF LANDS BY ALIENS, PROHIBITED - Exceptions - The ownership of lands by aliens, other than those who in good faith have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, is prohibited in this state, except where acquired by inheritance, under mortgage or in good faith in the ordinary course of justice in the collection of debts; and all conveyances of lands hereafter made to any alien directly or in trust for such alien shall be void: Provided, That the provisions of this Section shall not apply to lands containing valuable deposits of minerals, metals, iron, coal, or fire-clay, and the necessary land for mills and machinery to be used in the development thereof and the manufacture of the products therefrom. Every corporation, the majority of the capital stock of which is owned by aliens, shall be considered on alien for the purposes of this prohibition.”

Immigration Act of Feb 20, 1907
This federal legislation created new categories of immigrants that would be denied entry to the United States. Most relevant to the Japanese was the exclusion of people designated as contract laborers. The act also allowed President Theodore Roosevelt to deny entry to United States from Canada, Mexico, and Hawaii (an opportunity taken by Roosevelt on March 14, 1907).[2] Until the 1907 act, many Japanese laborers were coming to the United States via these countries.

Gentlemen’s Agreement, 1908
Theodore Roosevelt’s presidential order of March 14, 1907 had stemmed the flow of Japanese immigration from Canada, Mexico, and Hawaii. The Gentlemen’s Agreement was an unofficial and undocumented treaty that confronted direct immigration. Japan was to issue passports only to those who had previously been admitted to the United States. The Gentlemen’s Agreement did allow for Japanese men living in the United States to send for their wives and children in Japan.

Immigration Act of Feb 5, 1917
To further restrict Japanese and general Asian immigration, the 1917 act contained two key elements. One was the addition of a literacy test which stated that any person over sixteen years of age had to be literate in some language in order to enter the United States. The other was a major shift to a Caucasian only immigration policy. The 1917 act created a “barred zone” in Southeast Asia.[4] “The barred zone roughly included parts of China, all of India, Burma, Siam, the Malay States, the Asian part of Russia, part of Arabia, part of Afghanistan, most of the Polynesian Islands and the East Indian Islands.”

Washington State House Bill Number 79: January 27, 1921
During the seventeenth regular session, the Washington State House of Representatives added to the constitutional alien land restrictions. The new legislation extended the alien land laws beyond ownership to limit leasing and renting. The bill also made it a crime for anyone to sell land to an alien, hold land in trust or fail to report alien land use violations to the State Attorney General or local prosecutor.

Immigration Act of May 19, 1921
The 1921 Immigration Act was the first to include any quantitative restrictions on immigration. The Asian “barred zone” was upheld, but all other immigration was limited to three percent of the foreign-born population of any given group in the United States at the time of the 1910 census.

Washington State House Bill Number 70: January 26, 1923
The principal way Japanese and other resident aliens circumvented land laws was to have a minor child with birth-right citizenship hold that land deed. The 1923 House Bill ended this practice by declaring land owned by a minor child to be held in trust for an alien (illegal under the 1921 Bill).[8] This heavily restrictive alien land law stayed in effect until its repeal in 1965.

Immigration Act of May 26, 1924
Despite the already severe legal and social restrictions on Asian immigration, some European Americans felt that immigration should be forbidden altogether with a specific Asian Exclusion Act. In arguments which seem familiar to modern followers of the immigration debate, Asians were accused of taking white jobs and causing social unrest. Especially in California, Asians and Chinese in particular were already limited to Chinese ghettos, highly dense housing clusters which were prone to fire and violence. Modern-day Chinatown may be a popular tourist destination, but it was once the only place in which Chinese could safely live.

Continuing the trend of restriction, the 1924 Immigration Act used a stricter quota system to further reduce the number of admitted immigrants. While the three percent quota stayed the same, the figures were calculated from the 1890 census. As a result, the total quota number for all immigrants was cut by more than half to approximately 165,000 people.[10] A key section of the 1924 Act denied immigration to persons ineligible for naturalization. Because Japanese immigrants were not among those who could become citizens virtually all Asiatic immigration had been ended. The Asian Exclusion Act of 1924 specifically targeted Asian immigrants, essentially guaranteeing that they would never qualify for naturalization or land ownership.
(Editor's Note: Japan reacted particularly strongly to what it regarded as the insulting treatment of the Japanese under the new law - as noted by the Johnson's Exclusion Clause barring Japanese immigrants, who were classed as 'aliens ineligible for citizenship.' Especially noteworthy since Japan had supported the Allied during WWI and J.P. Morgan had organized a $150 million dollar loan to aid reconstruction after the massive 1923 Tokyo earthquake. As a result, the Japanese organized consumer boycotts against American goods and demonstrated against American cultural practices like dancing. This Japan Times & Mail editorial, entitled “The Senate’s Declaration of War,” denounced the 1924 immigration law and speculated on the reasons for the decision. The paper suggested that the Senate “deliberately” sought to “insult” the Japanese.)

An “Un-American Bill”: A Congressman Denounces Immigration Quotas
Since the foundations of the American commonwealth were laid in colonial times over 300 years ago, vigorous complaint and more or less bitter persecution have been aimed at newcomers to our shores. Also the congressional reports of about 1840 are full of abuse of English, Scotch, Welsh immigrants as paupers, criminals, and so forth.

Old citizens in Detroit of Irish and German descent have told me of the fierce tirades and propaganda directed against the great waves of Irish and Germans who came over from 1840 on for a few decades to escape civil, racial, and religious persecution in their native lands.

The “Know-Nothings,” lineal ancestors of the Ku-Klux Klan, bitterly denounced the Irish and Germans as mongrels, scum, foreigners, and a menace to our institutions, much as other great branches of the Caucasian race of glorious history and antecedents are berated to-day. All are riff-raff, unassimilables, “foreign devils,” swine not fit to associate with the great chosen people—a form of national pride and hallucination as old as the division of races and nations.

But to-day it is the Italians, Spanish, Poles, Jews, Greeks, Russians, Balkanians, and so forth, who are the racial lepers. And it is eminently fitting and proper that so many Members of this House with names as Irish as Paddy’s pig, are taking the floor these days to attack once more as their kind has attacked for seven bloody centuries the fearful fallacy of chosen peoples and inferior peoples. The fearful fallacy is that one is made to rule and the other to be abominated. . . .

In this bill we find racial discrimination at its worst—a deliberate attempt to go back 84 years in our census taken every 10 years so that a blow may be aimed at peoples of eastern and southern Europe, particularly at our recent allies in the Great War—Poland and Italy.

Jews In Detroit Are Good

. . . . . . All that study convinces me that the racial discriminations of this bill are un-American. . . .

It must never be forgotten also that the Johnson bill, although it claims to favor the northern and western European peoples only, does so on a basis of comparison with the southern and western European peoples. The Johnson bill cuts down materially the number of immigrants allowed to come from northern and western Europe, the so-called Nordic peoples. . . .

Then I would be true to the principles for which my forefathers fought and true to the real spirit of the magnificent United States of to-day. I can not stultify myself by voting for the present bill and overwhelm my country with racial hatreds and racial lines and antagonisms drawn even tighter than they are to-day. [Applause.]

Source: Speech by Robert H. Clancy, April 8, 1924, Congressional Record, 68th Congress, 1st Session (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1924), vol. 65, 5929–5932

OPINIONS OF THE DAY
In May 1905, Theodore Roosevelt fumed in a (private) letter about the "foolish offensiveness" of the [mostly Republican] "idiots" of the California legislature, while indicating sympathy for the notion of exclusion of Japanese and muttering about their being "a serious problem in Hawaii." Two months later he instructed the U.S. Minister to Japan, Lloyd C. Griscom, to inform Tokyo that "the American Government and … people" had no sympathy with the agitation and that while "I am President" Japanese would be treated like "other civilized peoples." In his prolix annual message of December 1905, Roosevelt insisted that there should be no discrimination "against any man" who wished to immigrate and be a good citizen, and he specifically included Japanese in a short list of examples of acceptable ethnic groups. In the next paragraph, Roosevelt, who had signed the 1902 extension of Chinese exclusion without hesitation, made it clear that Chinese laborers, "skilled and unskilled," were not acceptable.

We owe it to the Chinese to strengthen that faith. One step in this direction is to wipe from the statute books those anachronisms in our laws which forbid the immigration of Chinese people into this country and which bar Chinese residents from American citizenship. Nations, like individuals, make mistakes. We must be big enough to acknowledge our mistakes of the past and correct them.

Responding to accusations of unfair farming practices, a top Japanese leader of the United North American Japanese Associations reported, “According to these facts it seems to me that the Japanese farmer is more intensive in dairy farming than the other people engaged in the same business. The amount of milk produced per acre and the number of cows per acre on the farms operated by the Japanese is larger than that produced by others (i.e. White) . In other words, there is less waste and the farming itself is conducted on a more intensive basis.”
Rutherford B. Hayes responded with a reasoned veto message that accepted the desirability of stemming Chinese immigration. He argued that the Chinese manifested "all the traits of race, religion, manners, and customs, habitations, mode of life, segregation here, and the keeping up of the ties of their original home … [which] stamp them as strangers and sojourners, and not as incorporated elements of our national life." In 1868 - The United States and the Emperor of China cordially recognize the inherent and inalienable right of man to change his home and allegiance and also the mutual advantage of free migration and emigration … for the purposes of curiosity, of trade, or as permanent residents … but nothing contained herein shall be held to confer naturalization upon the citizens of the United States in China, nor upon the subjects of China in the United States.
Freeman stated: “My investigation of the situation existing in the city of Seattle convinced me that the increasing accretions of the Japanese were depriving the young white men of the opportunities that they are legitimately entitled to in this State.”
The Nationalist Origins formula enacted at the end of the 1920s had as a model the exclusionary measures previously adopted toward Chinese and Japanese immigrants, particular the former group. The sociologist Peter Rose remarks fairly that "no people who came to these shores of their own volition ever suffered as much discrimination or ostracism as did those from China and Japan. None were [sic] made to feel less welcome." For more info, click HERE

1920
LARGEST CHINESE AMERICAN BUSINESS
The largest Chinese American business is Joe Soong's National Dollar Stores, a dry goods chain reaching its height after 1945 and operating more than 50 stores in the western states.

1920   
ASIAN PLANTATION WORKERS GO ON STRIKE
10,000 Japanese and
Filipino plantation workers go on strike.

1920
ASIAN INDIANS OWN 123,000 ACRES!

By 1920,
Asian Indians owned about 123,000 acres in California's Imperial and Sacramento Valleys.

1920
LAW STOPS "PICTURE BRIDE" IMMIGRATION
Japan stops issuing passports to picture brides due to anti-Japanese sentiments.

 
 
Racist 1920 Post Card
1920  
CALIFORNIA STRENGTHENS ALIEN LAND LAW

Initiative in California ballot plugs up loopholes in the 1913 alien land law.

1920
KWOCK JAN FAT VS. WHITE

Kwock Jan Fat v White Supreme Court rules that aliens who wish to immigrate have a right to a fair hearing.

1920 
GEORGE SHIMA - THE "POTATO KING"
After reclaiming 29,000 acres of uncultivated land, George Shima, the Japanese "potato king," controls 80% of California's potato market.

1921  
ANNA MAY WONG - 1ST ASIAN AMERICAN FEMALE HOLLYWOOD STAR
First Asian American female Hollywood star
Anna May Wong became the first Asian female to receive "star" billing in a Hollywood film when Bits of Life appeared. Her role was small, but the 16-year-old displayed a distinctive flair, screen charisma and sex appeal. After several more minor roles, Wong landed a more substantial role in The Toll of the Sea (1922), a Madame Butterfly knockoff. The film's only distinction was being Hollywood's first true Technicolor feature.

For additional info on Anna May Wong, click HERE
Its success and flattering notices for Wong's performance didn't spare the Los-Angeles-born actress from a series of supporting roles that increasingly exploited her as exotic flesh. The most famous was playing a Mongol slave in the Douglas Fairbanks costume fantasy The Thief of Baghdad (1924). The high point of Wong's Hollywood career was co-starring with Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express (1932).

Wong became increasingly angered at being forced to play vamps, villainesses and rape victims while white women performed in yellow- face. MGM considered her "too Chinese to play a Chinese" she once complained. Her biggest disappointment was losing the lead in Pearl S. Buck's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Good Earth to Louise Rainer. The male lead had gone to a white actor and anti-miscegenation laws prevented Hollywood from casting a non-white to kiss him. Rainer won an Academy Award for her performance. In the 1930s a disillusioned Anna May Wong moved to Europe where more liberal racial attitudes gave her a broader range of roles. Recently Anna May Wong has been rediscovered as an Asian American woman with modern ideas whose first-order talent was stunted by Hollywood racial prejudices.

1921 
STATES PASS "ALIEN LAND LAWS"
Washington and Louisiana pass alien land laws. Japanese farm workers driven out of Turlock, California. Filipinos establish a branch of the Caballeros Dimas Alang in San Francisco and a branch of the Legionarios del Trabajo in Honolulu. Japanese laborers are loaded into trucks by gunpoint and driven out of Turlock.

1922 
MARRY AN "ALIEN" - LOSE YOUR CITIZENSHIP  

Takao Ozawa v. U.S.
declares Japanese not eligible for naturalized citizenship. New Mexico passes an alien land law. Cable Act declares that any American female citizen who marries "an alien ineligible to citizenship" would lose her citizenship.

1922 
HO VS. WHITE

Sup. Ct. rules that Congress has the right to deport "dangerous" aliens, and that the alien must prove citizenship to remain in the US and can be held for trial.
 
 
 
Racist 1920 "Japo" Cleaner

1922
JAPANESE CANNOT BE NAURALIZED!

United States Supreme Court ruled in the Ozawa Case that Japanese could not be naturalized.

1923 
EXCLUSION BASED ON "UNDERSTANDING OF THE COMMON MAN" / BHAGAT SINGH THIND

In Bhagat Singh Thind v. US, the Supreme Court rules that racial exclusion is based on the "understanding of the common man."

Bhagat Singh Thind, a native of Punjab, immigrated to America in 1913. Working in an Oregon lumber mill he paid his way through University of California, Berkeley and enlisted in the United States Army in 1917, when the United States entered World War I. He was honorably discharged in 1918. In 1920 he applied for citizenship and was approved by the U.S. District Court. The Bureau of Naturalization appealed the case, which made its way to the Supreme Court. Thind's attorneys expected a favorable decision since the year before in the Ozawa ruling the same Court had declared Caucasians eligible for citizenship and Thind, as most North Indians, was clearly Caucasian.

"It is a matter of familiar observation and knowledge that the physical group characteristics of the Hindus render them readily distinguishable from the various groups of persons in this country commonly recognized as white. The children of English, French, German, Italian, Scandinavian, and other European parentage, quickly merge into the mass of our population and lose the distinctive hallmarks of their European origin.

On the other hand, it cannot be doubted that the children born in this country of Hindu parents would retain indefinitely the clear evidence of their ancestry. It is very far from our thought to suggest the slightest question of racial superiority or inferiority. What we suggest is merely racial difference, and it is of such character and extent that the great body of our people instinctively recognize it and reject the thought of assimilation."

Now the Supreme Court found it necessary to qualify "Caucasian" as being synonymous with "white," according to the understanding of the common man of the time. Justice Sutherland expressed their unanimous decision, denying Thind citizenship.

Because of the Thind decision, many Indian who were already naturalized had their citizenship rescinded. The Thind decision also meant that the Alien Land Law applied to the many Indian immigrants who had already purchased or leased land. After this ruling some landowners lost their property, but many continued to hold property they had previously acquired and to buy or lease new property in the names of American lawyers, bankers, or farmers whom they trusted. A few were able to hold land in the names of their American-born children, though this strategy did not become widespread till after a 1933 court case challenging the practice of "Hindu" farmers holding land through American front men.

    You must never be limited by external authority, whether it be vested in a church, man, or book. It is your right to question, challenge, and investigate. -- Bhagat Singh Thind

OTHER FACTS ON BHAGAT SINGH THIND: He remained in the U.S., completed his Ph.D., and delivered lectures in metaphysics all across the nation. Basing his lessons on Sikh philosophy, he enriched his teaching with references to the scriptures of several religions and the work of Emerson, Whitman, and Thoreau. He campaigned actively for the independence of India from the British Empire, and helped Indian students in any way he could. In 1931, he married Vivian Davies and they had a son, David, to whom several of his 15 books are dedicated.

"You must never be limited by external authority, whether it be vested in a church, man, or book. It is your right to question, challenge, and investigate."

Ironically, Dr. Thind applied for and received U.S. citizenship through the state of New York within a few years of being turned down by the U.S. Supreme Court.


1923
Y.C. HONG - 1ST CHINESE AMERICAN TO PRACTICE LAW IN CALIFORNIA

You Chung Hong (1898-1977) was the
first Chinese student to graduate from the USC Law School, was a model of education success, professional accomplishment, civic engagement and philanthropic largess. The son of poor Chinese immigrants, Hong was the first person in his family to enter college and the first to study law; his achievements as a Los Angeles attorney earned him financial reward and civic regard in ways that were unimaginable to his parents.

Like many 19th century Chinese, You Chung Hong's father arrived in California to work as a laborer on railroad construction and in the state's borax mine. Death came in 1903 to the senior Hong, leaving his son Y.C. and a sister in the care of their mother who, having never learned English, eked out a living in San Francisco as a cigar roller and seamstress. Following his high school graduation in 1915, Y. C. Hong founded an English language school for Chinese immigrants while working as a bookkeeper in several Chinese restaurants. Moving to Los Angeles around 1918, he began translating for the United States Immigration Service. There, a Japanese interpreter who was attending the USC Law School extolled the benefits of studying law, especially with an eye toward practicing immigration law.

In 1920, Hong enrolled in USC's four-year night program, held in the Tajo Building at First and Broadway. The sole support of his family, Hong was so poor he could not afford to purchase textbooks; he depended upon the kindness of classmates willing to loan their books, as well as his ability to recall, sentence-by-sentence, law school lectures. He passed the Bar in 1923, becoming the first Chinese-American to practice law in California. Law School Dean Frank M. Porter nonetheless persuaded Hong to finish not one but two degrees in law at USC; and after completing an LL.B. in 1924 and a LL.M. in 1925, Hong established a practice in Chinatown.

Both immigration law and his tireless work on behalf of Chinese-American civil rights were central to Y.C. Hong's practice and life. For 50 years, Chinese-Americans regarded him as the country's foremost Chinese attorney, a reputation based on his relentless work to repeal the infamous Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. He testified before the U.S. Senate Hearing Committee in immigration laws before he was 30 years old and, at the age of 28, he was elected president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Chinese-American Citizens Alliance (C.A.C.A.), which was founded in 1895 to quicken the spirit of American patriotism, to insure the legal rights of its members and to secure equal economical and political opportunities for its members. The Chinese Times, the journal of C.A.C.A., was the popular medium through which Hong advanced his views on Chinese community affairs.

Hong was keenly involved in the construction of New Chinatown in 1938, providing legal advice and personal investments. Moving his practice to 445 Ginling Way represented the confluence of law, community and wealth. Here he gave flight to his philanthropic side, especially but not exclusively for the Chinese community. The Law School, for example, continues to benefit from his happy association with USC. Presently two scholarship funds, one managed by the Southern California Chinese Lawyers' Association, provide assistance for law students in Y.C. Hong's honor; and the education of several USC law students was financed by Y. C. Hong awards, a testament to the school which so shaped his life in law and community. Two sons attended USC; Nowland, a 1959 graduate of the Law School, and Roger, who earned degrees in architecture (1965) and urban and regional planning (1968). He died of a heart attack in 1977.

1923 
ASIAN AMERICAN WORLD FLYWEIGHT CHAMPION

Filipino boxer Francisco Guilledo becomes the World Flyweight Champion

1923 
ASIAN INDIANS WERE "ALIENS INELIGIBLE TO CITIZENSHIP!

Justice Sutherland, speaking for the Supreme Court in 1923, said that
Bhagat Singh Thind and other Asian Indians were aliens ineligible to citizenship because, while designated as Caucasian, they were not white. Only whites and blacks, in fact, could become citizens -- even though Asian Indians were first recorded in American records in 1790. By 1900, 2,050 people of East Indian descent were reported to be living in the United States.

1924 
IMMIGRATION DENIED TO ALL ASIANS
National Origins Act excludes immigration of all Asian laborers. Filipinos, considered colonial subjects of the US, were exempted. The " Immigration Act" denies entry to virtually all Asians. No Chinese women were allowed to enter the United States for permanent residence. Prior to this act, wives of Chinese merchants and wives of American-born Chinese were allowed to enter. The Supreme Court in 1925 ruled that merchants' wives were admissible. Five years later an amendment to the Cable Act permitted the other women to enter.

ANTI-JAPANESE CLAMOR
Washington responded to the growing anti-Japanese clamor. Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1924, which prohibited further Japanese immigration to the United States. The act indeed accomplished what it had set out to do. Almost 20 years later, on the eve of Pearl Harbor, about 126,948 persons of Japanese ancestry resided in the United States—less than one-tenth of one percent of the total population.
For more info, click
HERE
No Chinese women were allowed to enter the United States for permanent residence. Prior to this act, wives of Chinese merchants and wives of American-born Chinese were allowed to enter. This act stopped all Chinese women who were not the wives of merchants, teachers, students, and tourists from entering the United States. The Supreme Count in 1925 ruled that merchants' wives were admissible. Five years later an amendment to the Cable Act permitted other women to enter.

The immigration law of 1924 was the final, most effective act against Chinese immigration. The law was challenged in the Supreme Court in the case of Chang Chan Angle, but the court ruled that Chinese wives of U.S. citizens were not entitled to residence. As a result, the Chinese population continued to have disproportionate number of men to women until early 1960s.

1924
FILIPINO AMERICAN HARDSHIPS

Feudal oppression and colonial brutality drove rural Filipinos from their homes while the lure of adventure and easy wealth blurred the hardships formerly endured by Mexican farmhands now restricted by the Immigration Act of 1924. 1600 Filipino plantation workers strike for eight months in Hawaii.

1924 
GEE JON - WORLD'S 1ST EXCUTION BY LETHAL GAS
Gee Jon was the first person in the United States to be executed by lethal gas. He was executed at the Nevada State Prison on February 8, 1924 for the crime of murder. Gee, along with Hughie Sing were convicted for killing Tom Quong Kee in Mina, Nevada on August 27, 1921.

The murder was one of many in 1921 because of tong warfare in the West. There were also murders throughout California. Gee Jon was convicted of being the trigger man and Hughie Sing, because of his youth and the fact that Gee did the actual shooting, had his death sentence commuted to life in prison. Gee Jon was twenty-nine when he died. He was born in China, but had spent most of his life in San Francisco's Chinatown. He was a member of the Hop Sing Tong.

1924 
MASSACRE IN HAWAII
Hanapepe Massacre. Police attack union headquarters in Hanapepe, HI. 16 sugar plantation workers and 4 policemen are killed.

1924 
WHITES ONLY IN MISSISSIPPI IS LEGAL
Chinese grocer named
Gong Lum filed the lawsuit after his daughter was barred from the whites-only public school in the western Delta town of Rosedale. The case ultimately went to the United States Supreme Court, which upheld Mississippi's longstanding policy "to preserve the white schools for members of the Caucasian race alone."

1925 
GIN CHOW PREDICTED 1925 EARTHQUAKE

Gin Chow was a strawberry farmer and "weather prophet" whose reputed prediction of the 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake went unheeded. But everything he said thereafter was recorded by the scribes of the period, who considered him a kind of seismic Nostradamus. But stories about Chow's predictions caught the attention of the press, which helped make a California legend of the man who once sold strawberries and casaba melons on the streets of Santa Barbara.

All the accounts came after the fact, but the gist of them is this: Two days before Christmas in 1920 or 1923, depending on the source, Chow supposedly posted a notice in the Santa Barbara post office stating that the city would be flattened by an earthquake on June 29, 1925. Sure enough, the biggest and deadliest temblor since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire struck at 6:44 a.m. that day. The ground shuddered for 19 seconds, about the time it takes to draw three or four slow, deep breaths.

TIMELINE

In late 1949, he began volunteering for Chung Sai Yat Po, the first daily paper to support the People's Republic of China, and became a member of organizations active in persuading students to return to China to serve the new government. He also joined the Chinese American Democratic Youth League, more familiarly known as Mun Ching, where he met Laura Jung, a new immigrant, whom he married in 1953. During those years, he served as president from 1951 to 1959 and met his future wife – Laura. She was a recent high school student immigrant having problems with history while becoming his life-time companion and steadfast supporter and collaborator in his work on Chinese American history until he died. Since he never learned how to drive, his countless research trips criss-crossing the U.S. could not have been accomplished without the ever-present love, care, and devotion of Laura.

Between the years of 1951 to 1960, he was one of the few American-born Chinese members of the Chinese American Youth Club (Mun Ching), a progressive organization that supported the new China (cultural activities, as oppose to progressive politics such as music/songs, folk dances and dramas). During the McCarthy era of the 1950s, introducing the Chinese community to the songs, music, folk dances, and vernacular dramas of the New China through Mun Ching—now renamed the Chinese American Youth Club — proved immensely satisfying despite the cost of constant FBI surveillance and intimidation. In the process, he also gained mastery of both spoken and written Chinese, skills turned out to be most useful for his later. In 1960,
In 1963, (joining the Chinese Historical Society of America soon after its founding and the contemporaneous changes in the status of minorities spurred by the Civil Rights movement, led Lai towards developing a Chinese American identity. Shortly afterwards, he took a pivotal step of enrolling in sociologist Sanford Lyman's UC extension course on Chinese American history that triggered a long-buried thirst for knowledge resulting in his own part-time research, collecting obscure books/articles and interviewing elders. This was a fullfillment of his goals that was prompted by his 1960 enrollment in the course, "The Oriental in North America," a relatively new course taught by Stanford Lyman at the University of California Extension in San Francisco, which exposed him for the first time to the histories of the Chinese, Japanese, and Filipinos in America. He subsequently read a half dozen or so titles on Chinese in America published in the early 1960s and joined the above-listed Chinese Historical Society of America soon after its founding in 1963.
In 1967, he accepted a proposal by Maurice Chuck, editor of the bilingual East/West, the Chinese American Weekly to write a series of articles on Chinese American history. This combined his passion for history and his deep commitment to his bicultural heritage and democratic principles.

In 1969, after the San Francisco State University student strikes for ethnic studies programs, he and a childhood friend, architect-historian Phil Choy, co-taught one of the country's first undergraduate college courses on Chinese American history on that campus. Lai also lectured at UC Berkeley. This course resulted from his East/West articles that became the cornerstone for the classic A History of the Chinese in California, A Syllabus, co-edited with Thomas W. Chin and Philip P. Choy - along with the follow-up "Outlines: History of the Chinese in America." They also taught the same course at UC Berkeley's Ethnic Studies Department in the 1970s. Syllabus became the basic reference work on the Chinese in California. It ended in the nineteenth century because that was all I had written for East West. He contributed the parts on Chinese labor and the Pearl River Delta. The anti-Chinese laws were written by Chuck Chan, Phil Choy wrote the anti-Chinese movement and the informationabout the Chinese organizations, the opera, and temples was provided by Thomas Chinn.

After the Syllabus project and the seminar ended, Chester Cheng (History Department professor) contacted me to do a pilot course on Chinese American history. I contacted Phil Choy to teach the course together. They prepared the course outline based on Syllabus and printed selections from different books and papers that covered everything up to the present. He wanted to compare the situation on the mainland U.S. with Canada and Hawaii.

From 1971 to 1984 he produced a weekly hour-long community-based Cantonese-language radio program - Hon Sing. It was basically news commentary, announcements, and modern Chinese music. The first song played was "Yellow River Cantata."

In Fall of 1972, Lai's first scholarly essay, "A Historical Survey of Organizations of the Left Among the Chinese in America," was published in the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars - along with "History of the Chinese in America: An Outline.

In 1973, he joined the Chinese Culture Center and later developed the exhibit Two Centuries of Struggle and Achievement: The Chinese of America 1785-1980, which traveled to China. Him Mark participated as an integral advisor for the Culture Center's "In Search of Roots" program, lending his knowledge and guidance to many young Chinese Americans as they researched their family history.

In 1977, through affiliation with the Chinese Historical Society of America, Him Mark Lai accumulating vast amounts of research, which led to the groundbreaking publications such as Chinese Newspapers Published in North America, 1854-1975 (with Karl Lo)

In 1980 - historian Judy Yung, playwright Genny Lim and Him Mark Lai formed the History of Chinese Detained on Island Project (HOI-DOC) to translate the Chinese poetry found on the walls of the Angel Island Immigration Station and collect oral histories of detainees on Angel Island, based on the specific restrictions of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act that resulted in an independently published article. He also published his 13,000-word essay "Chinese on the Continental U.S." in the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups in the same year

In 1986, his book "A History Reclaimed: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide of Chinese Language Materials on the Chinese of America was released

In 1989, The Roots Program was started when the Chinese Historical Society and Chinese Culture Center held a symposium on Chinese American family history and genealogy. The program actually started in 1991 (see below) with a ten thousand dollar grant for youth work because of the great interest that was expressed. In preparing the youths for the China trip, Al Cheng would help them with their genealogy and Him Mark Lai would concentrate on the history of Chinese Americans and the Pearl River Delta - along with information from the gazetteers about the villages, population and industries. The overarching intent of the program is to provide the participants with an awareness and appreciation of the totality of the Chinese American experience through research on family history and genealogy. Consequently they can gain a better understanding of their heritage which ultimately helps define their identities as Chinese Americans.

In 1991, his book "Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island 1910-1940," was published with UC Santa Cruz historian Judy Yung and playwright Genny Lim and included 135 poems by immigrants at Angel Island (Publisher: University of Washington Press). His background in Chinese history allowed me to recognize the many literary references and to provide a factual translation that sometimes prompted him to mull over a Cantonese term for weeks as to its meaning that resulted in the great number of footnotes. In addition - Him Mark Lai and Albert Cheng created the In Search of Roots Program through a partnership with the Chinese Historical Society of America, Chinese Culture Foundation, and the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office from Guangdong Province, China. This year-long program trains a dozen Chinese American youths how to research their family history through National Archives and Records Administration documents and oral history during the spring. Each summer, the students visit their ancestral villages in the Pearl River Delta region of China. Upon their return, the students create a visual display of their genealogy and display it at the Chinese Cultural Center during Lunar New Year.

In 1992, he published "From Overseas Chinese to Chinese American: History of Development of Chinese American Society during the Twentieth Century. The book's main thread is the Americanization of the Chinese, how they became a part of America, particularly after World War II. Before then, they still thought of themselves as Chinese, and the Americans thought of them as Chinese too. Becoming a part of America is really about becoming ethnic American. The other thread is that relations to China cannot be neglected - political, economic, and cultural ties.

In 2003, the Ethnic Studies Library at UC Berkeley announced their Him Mark Lai Collection consisting of his private research material, which he donated to the library for use by other scholars.

In 2004, he published "Becoming Chinese American: A History of Communities and Institution" (2004), which took almost four decades of mining information from Chinese-language sources. Becoming Chinese American discusses the historical and cultural development of Chinese American life in the past century. Representing a singular breadth of knowledge about the Chinese American past, the volume begins with a historical overview of Chinese migration to the United States

In 2007 and three years after Him Mark Lai retired, History and Perspectives came into being. It is the only scholarly journal of Chinese American studies and free of the strictures of academia because we publish things that orthodox journals would never do, such as oral histories, translations, memoirs, and reprints. It includes in-depth articles on the Chinese language schools, the Chinese Left, and family histories.

In June 2007, Him Mark Lai was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer, yet he continues his research and writing

On May 23, 2009 - Him Mark Lai died.

1925
HIM MARK LAI (DEAN OF CHINESE AMERICAN STUDIES) IS BORN
Him Mark Lai, the internationally noted scholar, writer, and "Dean of Chinese American History" was born on November 1, 1925 in San Francisco's Chinatown and died on May 23, 2009. His ten books, more than 100 essays, and research in English and Chinese on all aspects of Chinese American life are published and cited in the U.S., the Americas, China, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Almost every researcher or scholars of the Chinese American communities are indebted to his work. He gave Chinese Americans a voice in history by listening to ordinary people in the United States and China that allowed him to read and think in the Chinese language. "His legacy challenges us to listen, to think and to feel more deeply - to untangle, to clarify, and to refine the historical and political record of our lives here." (Russell C. Leong).

Background History
Him Mark Lai was the oldest Chinese-speaking 2nd generation child (of five siblings / three boys and two girls) born in San Francisco Chinatown to garment worker-immigrant parents (Mother: Dong Hing Mui from Guangzhou, Father: Maak Bing from Chunghaa Village in Nam Hoi County) from Nam Hoi District, Guangzhou, and attended local schools including Commodore Stockton (1932), Francisco Junior High (half Chinese / half Italian - he was the class president), Nam Kue Chinese School (when he was 5 and for about 10 years while being the only sibling to master the language - speak, read and write in Mandarin and Cantonese), Galileo High School (1/3 Chinese), San Francisco College (1943-1945 / was the valedictorian) and was graduated from U.C. Berkeley (worked 20 hours a week at $.25 an hour in a garment factory to pay for tuition) in 1947 with a B.A. degree in mechanical engineering. Note: His "paper name" is Lai, but he passed his trueancestral roots by giving each of his five children the middle name of Lai.

After college - he worked for T. Kong Lee (import/export business on Sacramento Street as a stock boy), Bureau of Reclamation (civil engineer at Antioch), Utilities Engineering Bureau (1948 to 1951 from a junior engineer to designing the overhead systems for trolley coach lines - saw racism that prevent an Indian and Jewish workers get promotions, while an Irish worker was promoted) and (after returning to UC Berkeley for graduate school) worked for Bechtel Corporation for a total of 31 years - despite wanting to pursue scholarly research despite the fact that few Asian American professors were in academia.

Between work and study, Him Mark found time to join the San Francisco chapter of the Chinese League for Peace and Democracy, an organization opposed to American interference in China's Civil War, 1945-1949. In late 1949, he started volunteering for the Chung Sai Yat Po, the first daily paper to support the new People's Republic of China, and became also a member of organizations active in persuading students to return to China to serve the new government.

His parents were immigrants from China whose father came on the Siberia (first shipload of people that were detained on Angel Island) in 1910. He worked at various jobs, including the garment industry. During World War I, he went to Sebastopol to harvest apple crops. After he saved enough money, he went back to China to get married to his mother - who was fifteen years younger. He came back in 1923 and lived in Oakland for a couple years. Initially they opened their own business. After the business closed down, they moved to San Francisco and worked for George Brothers - a Chinese-owned garment shop - for the rest of their lives.

How Oral History Became Part of His Research
His oral history sessions (mainly in Chinese) included people such as Hugh Leong on the Chung Wah Four Quartet and Cathay Band. He talked about the 1906 earthquake, his being Chinese American, and how he taught the Chung Wah students to march in the parades. Another one was with former Secretary of State March Fong Eu’s father-in-law, M. Q. Fong who owned the Republic Drugstore that was located below Kan’s Restaurant in San Francisco. He was an interpreter for the Chinese consulate, a member of the board of directors for the China Mail Steamship line, and one of the first in pharmaceutical work. The interview with Dr. James Hall talked about how he started the Chinese Hospital. Walter James conversed about the oyster beds in Olympia, Washington, and the Chinese American civic council that he started in the Midwest.

His Influences
Lai’s initial tangible influence was from Mun Ching (Chinese American Democratic League) that stressed the common people or collective good rather than the individual heroes. He was one of the few American-born Chinese members during his tenure between 1951 and 1959, often he was the president. Later he realized society was much more complicated than that and started to collect biographies since writing about a faceless, nameless mass was unsatisfying. Gradually an understanding the questions and relationships of class versus race became a higher priority. One cannot have a Chinese perspective until one understands that it is not just race. Race and social class are all factors. One might look at the anti-Chinese movement, you have labor involved. How do you explain that?

Research Process
Him Mark Lai started with Chinese regional groups in the U.S. such as the Fa Yuen and Dow Moon group. My interest continued while working (and translating) together with Yuk Ow and Phil Choy on the history book on the Sam Yup district association that utilized their existing records since 1881. The book included oral interviews – along with other research materials such as annals, gazetteers, changes in occupations, population figures and biographies.

Since much of his information are from newspapers (that provides invaluable community insights such as Chung Sai Yat Po/1900-1906 & 1920s), his next stage was collecting and indexing the great number of Chinese newspapers that covers Taiwan independence, Vietnamese Chinese communities, commercial news, Christian info, Buddhist news, political parties (i.e. Chinese American Left) and other communities in cities such as Salt Lake City, Denver, Phoenix, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Atlanta, Miami and on the Web. Since foreign-born Chinese outnumbered American-born for most of Chinese American history, most of documentation will be in Chinese.

What does Mr. Lai collect and why? He shared that his area of research focuses upon internal developments in the Chinese American community, into institutions and organizations. He regards the development of the Chinese community during the twentieth century as being the most relevant time period to the developments in the contemporary community, Since Chinese immigrants led and dominated the community for most of its history, Chinese has been the language used to record most of its activities – hence the need to be bilingual to understand the spirit and soul of the people.

His Views on the Education System
Him Mark Lai believes (after being strongly influenced by Yuk Ow) that Chinese/Chinese American history and heritage is part of America, even though our educational system is interested in teaching. Chinese/Chinese Americans need to know our history, where we are different and where we are the same, why are we here and how did we become who we are. The process through which the Chinese became a part of this country is just as legitimate and important as that of other ethnic groups in this country. If we don’t know that, then I think a person will be psychologically handicapped and will feel ashamed of certain things. The next generation should know about the struggles that the Chinese have gone through. He believes one has to be actively engaged to protect our equality and rights. He learned from Yuk Ow that history is research, organization and interpreting. His engineering education has taught him to analytical, logical and practical in solving problems – his background allows him to go from all the facts to the conclusions - since that is what a historian does, not weave a lot of tales from nothing.

What do you feel are your major contributions to public history?
I think my major contribution is to give to the English-speaking Chinese who don't read Chinese a sense of the breadth and complexity of Chinese American history. For a small population, Chinese American history is very complex. In other words, it's not just the anti-Chinese movement or discrimination.

There are many areas that have not been covered. For instance, the history of the Shanghainese and Fujianese groups, or Chinese from Burma, they are all distinct subgroups in this society. It's only because of the [campaign finance] scandal that people know about the Hsi Lai Temple. Yet, it's existed there in Hacienda Heights for about a decade. How did they get so much money?

Why do they have so many adherents? You have a lot of people that are connected with the elite in China who have come to the United States. How have they affected American policies? Another thing, how are the Chinese from different regions of America different because of demography, environment, historical period, and all that?

Much of the previous history has been on San Francisco and Northern California, but in order to understand the whole picture and how the Americanization process works, you have to go into the history of other places like the Chinese in Hawaii or in the South. There's a lot more work to be done. The problem is that the Chinese being a small minority, people are not willing to put a lot of resources on them.

What do you see as the future direction of Chinese American history?
Asian American studies is a natural place for it. But Asian American studies' main driving force is racism, political equality, and identity politics. For that reason, other areas are neglected. It's very difficult to predict just where it will go or what discipline is going to come out with the key research topics, but I think academicians have to look at the larger picture. The Chinese are a part of American society and they need to be studied as part of U.S. history, but because of the overseas connections, they need to also be studied as part of Chinese and world history

Him Mark Lai Collection
This Collection (which divides his 4+ decade of bi-lingual research into four parts - Research Files, Professional Activities, Writings and Personal Papers generally dating from 1970 to 1995) is the result of Mr. Lai's desire to make a significant contribution to research on Chinese Americans. He realized racial prejudice was a major obstacle to understanding the truth about Chinese culture and the history of Chinese Americans. In his early years, he was aware of discrimination against Chinese, and this inspired him to promote ethnic awareness and nationalism. Being fluent in both English and Chinese gave him an edge in his research on Chinese American history by broadening his perspectives.

Cultural and language gaps between Chinese and Westerners have often resulted in superficial observations and erroneous conclusions. Colored by the racist attitudes of the period, these English-language sources seldom reflected the attitudes and experiences of the Chinese themselves. In order to obtain more in-depth, objective studies of Chinese American culture and society; the researcher must necessarily use course materials that originate from the Chinese community. As the result – he has scanned and read Chinese newspapers from across the nation and clipping almost every article relevant to the Chinese community – along with collecting thousands of profiles of prominent and notorious individuals.

Substantial portions of the collection deal with the relationship between Chinese Americans and China: how and why they came to the United States and how they helped to build homeland schools as part of an effort to improve the lives of the people they left behind. As the Chinese saying goes, "once you are Chinese, you are always Chinese," even though some may disagree with Chinese government policies.

His commitment to documenting this history is reflected in the numerous biographies of Chinese and Chinese Americans, and in the materials on Chinese overseas, particularly within the United States, and their homeland relations. His research files include information relating to family associations, Chinese American organizations, Chinatowns, the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party), and the history of China. Within the collection, rare items such as the Chinese Record, January 2, 1880, an English-language newspaper with a Chinese section, as well as the only existing complete copy of the newspaper New Era, dated January 28, 1907. Also represented in the collection are Lai's teaching files, materials gathered during his participation in various professional activities, his writings, biographical information, and personal miscellany.

Due to the relatively small size of the community, mainstream society media coverage of the Chinese American community has been very limited and spasmodic. Thus for information on developments in the Chinese American community, one has to refer to the Chinese language press. As a result, Lai's interest in Chinese newspapers is unparalleled since he subscribes to practically every Chinese newspaper available in the United States. This interest resulted in the inclusion of a significant number of newsclippings along with correspondence, interviews, manuscripts, drafts, monographs, journals, statistical data, photocopies of legal documents and FBI files, bylaws, minutes, organization records, historical documents, maps, slides, photographs and negatives. For more info, click HERE or HERE This is where the present collection stands out since many of the records came from Chinese newspapers and journals as well as community documents. These are not easily obtainable in nor collected by most research libraries. To access the information, visit http://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt7r29q3gq

Him Mark Lai Books & Resources
Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940
Video Describing the Him Mark Li's Background
A brief historical overview of Wen Xiongfei's times
The 1903 anti-Chinese riot in Tonopah, Nevada
A History Reclaimed: Chinese Language Materials on the Chinese of America
Chinese America: History and Perspectives 1988
Asian Americans and Politics: Perspectives, Experiences, Prospects. (Reviews)
Biography - Lai, Him Mark (1925-)
The Chinese American Experience (Hardcover)
20 Years of Chinese America: History & Perspectives
Chinese American Voices: Gold Rush to the Present
The Chinese of America: 1785-1980 (Paperback)
Outlines; history of the Chinese in America. (Paperback)

"I try to cover the totality of the Chinese American experience,"
Lai says. "I don't think I'll ever be finished."

How He Became a Scholar on Chinese American History
"I think the main thing is, I'm Chinese . . . My past has been for China, for the Chinese, to do well, to improve themselves.
Then that feeling transferred to (being) Chinese American."

Lai's work puts names, faces and stories
to the Chinese American experience

"(Chinese American Identity) developed in the 1950s. Because of McCarthyism, all activities became Chinese American"

.1925
CHINESE GANGS CALL A TRUCE

Warring tongs in North America's Chinatowns declare truce. Hilario Moncado founds Filipino Federation of America.

1925
FILIPINO FEDERATION OF AMERICA

Filipino Federation of America organizes for purpose of obtaining US citizenship for its members.

1925
WORLD CHAMPION FILIPINO BOXER DIES

World Boxing Champion, Pancho Villa died in 1925 at age of 24 years old from blood poisoning after winning 103 victories out of 108 fights. (Courtesy of the book written and edited by Fred and Dorothy Cordova, assisted by a dedicated project staff - "Filipinos: Forgotten Asian Americans"

1925 
A JAPANESE PERSON CAN'T BE NATURALIZED

Sup. Ct. (
Hidemitsu Toyota vs. United States) rules that to maintain distinctions of race and color in naturalization laws, a Japanese person cannot be naturalized.

The substance of prior legislation (see above) is expressed in section 2169, Revised Statutes (Comp. St. 4358), which is: 'The provisions of this title [Naturalization] shall apply to aliens being free white persons, and to aliens of African nativity and to persons of African descent.' A person of the Japenese race, born in Japan, is not eligible under that section. Ozawa v. United States, supra, 198 (43 S. Ct.65).

1926 
INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE BETWEEN JAPANESE MALE AND A WHITE FEMALE

In July 1926, Banning went to Ota's Los Angeles hotel room. "She took my shirts, ties, everything out of the closet and dresser, put them in a suitcase, closed it, and said: 'We go now,' " Ota would later say in an interview. A year later, Banning, 51, and Ota, 31, drove to Seattle to be married; interracial marriage violated California law. Both were ostracized by their friends. This marriage, too, was short-lived, but not because another love intervened. During an extended European honeymoon, Banning caught a cold that turned into fatal pneumonia. She died on Feb. 20, 1929, shortly after her 53rd birthday.

1927 
SEPARATE FACILITIES FOR "MONGOLIAN" CHILDREN

Gong Lum v Rice - Supreme Court of Mississippi rules for separate but equal facilities for Mongolian children.

1927 
RESTRICTIONS OF JAPANESE SCHOOLS RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the laws passed by the Hawaii Legislature to control the Japanese Language Schools--Act 152 (Apr. 1925), Act 171 (Apr. 27, 1923), and Act 30 (Nov. 24, 1920)--were all
unconstitutional. In addition to removing the laws from the books, the Territorial government had to refund $20,000 in fees collected from the schools. Japanese school enrollment and popularity reached new highs in the early 1930s.

 

Dec. 1941 photograph of Issei (first generation) 
Japanese American Central Coast Pioneer Families: H. Yaemon Minami of Minami Farms (seated, second from left), Naoichi Ikeda of Ikeda Farms (seated, second from right), Setsuo Aratani of Guadalupe Produce (seated, far right), and Masuko Aratani, a principal of All Star Trading (standing)

 

1928
SETSUO ARATANI'S SUCCESS AND BASEBALL

By 1928,
Setsuo Aratani's successful farming business was doing so well that he sent his company baseball team to Japan. Setsuo had spent $3,000 on the tour, a small fortune at that time. His advice to his son (George Aratani) was "if you want to get into business and continue to grow, you have to surround yourself with capable people you must treat them as part of the company. There are only 24 hours in a day. When the business gets bigger and bigger, there are so many things to do. You need good people to take on various important responsibilities. Then you can continue to make progress and grow bigger. But first you have to work as a team, just like the team that went to Japan." This philosophy was taken to heart by George Aratani.

This Hiroshima native, Setsuo Aratani overcame racist land laws to become a prosperous farmer and entrepreneur in the California seaside town of Guadalupe, near Santa Maria. At one time, before World War II, he was one of the “Big Three” (Aratani, H. Yaemon Minami and Tomooka – along with others such as the Idedas) who were prominent Japanese farmers that dominated the region of Guadalupe in Central California since the early 1900s. They were Japanese immigrants who tilled thousands of acres of farmland and harvested tons of carrots, lettuce, peas, and chili peppers; the produce was packed in ice and shipped as far as Texas and the East Coast. They had a major impact on the agricultural development of the Central Coast. Before the arrival of the Big Three farmers, Chinese laborers, hoes in hand, broke the arid ground and planted sugar beets for the Union Sugar Mill in Betteravia, established in 1899. For two decades in Guadalupe, the town -- at least superficially -- disregarded color barriers and joined together for picnics where Japanese, European Americans, Mexicans and Filipinos sat together to eat mesquite barbecue and watch performances by locals.

After Pearl Harbor, the entire Aratani family was interned at Arizona’s Gila River camp, along with 120,313 other Japanese Americans sent to 10 camps throughout the West as the result of then-President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 that started on February 19, 1042 and continued for three years. As a result, the Aratani lost everything that they owned - an estimated $20 million to non-Japanese associates. Setsuo ended up losing most of it but never sued his partners. "If the president of the United States could put us behind barbed wire, what chance would I have in court when the war was going on?" he said.

Timeline
In 1915, Hersee Moody Moore - only child of a wealthy Mississippi family - came to West Hollywood.

In September 1924, she married wealthy Beverly Hills businessman Peter Gross, who had 11 children by two previous wives. Shortly after the honeymoon, Gross' former housekeeper-lover sued him for breach of promise, demanding $150,000. Unable to face his new wife and his jilted lover, Gross shot himself in the head on the living room couch. After battling his children, she became a very wealthy woman.

In 1927, Hersee married George Campbell Carson - who made front-page news for winning $20 million in a 19 year court fight - in San Francisco. This 55 years old bachelor with a second grade education who had spent 30 years mining and wandering around the country got rich after he sued several copper companies for infringing on the patent of his smelting furnace.

In 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression, she hired 100 workers to build her three-story castle. It would have 16 rooms, nine bathrooms, 125 stained and leaded glass windows and a chimney – but no fireplace. She supervised daily construction for more than a year.

1928 
HERSEE MOODY CARSON'S PARTIES FOR ORPHANED/DISADVANTAGED CHINESE CHILDREN
In 1928, Hersee Moody Carson (eccentric philanthropist) had the first of her Christmas parties for hundreds of orphaned and disadvantaged children, mostly of Chinese descent at her house/storybook fortress on a forested hilltop above Sunset Boulevard that become known as the "Fairy Lady's Castle" in the 1930s. "I have always been interested in foreign children, especially the Chinese," she said in the 1933 interview. Her Chinese cook donned a Santa Claus suit and handed out presents.

The castle cost $500,000, about $7.1 million in today's dollars. It included hand-painted wallpaper with pastel-colored birds, an underground conveyor belt from the street to the kitchen for deliveries, and a conservatory ceiling painted the way the sky looked the day Hersee Carson was born in 1878.

1928 
FARM WORKERS DRIVEN OUT

Filipino farm workers are driven out of Yakima Valley, Washington. Filipinos in Los Angeles form Filipino American Christian Fellowship.

1928 
CHI ALPHA DELTA

Chi Alpha Delta, the sorority started in 1928 by 14 Japanese American UCLA students who were barred from Greek Sororities is now a Pan-Asian organization. Their survival of nearly eight decades is remarkable, because the sorority has gone through so many difficult historical periods and demographic transformations. No other Japanese American or Asian American student group has had such longevity. The sorority has rejected offers by other Asian American Greek groups to join them, choosing to remain an independent sorority identified solely with UCLA.

1929 
MIYOSHI UMEKI IS BORN (MAY 9, 1929 - AUGUST 29, 2007)

Academy-Award-winning actress was born in Otaru (Japan) on May 8, 1929 and died of cancer on August 28, 2007 in Licking MO. She won as Oscar for performance as the doomed wife (the character of "Katsumi") of an American serviceman (the character of "Joe Kelly" played by Red Buttons) in "Sayonara" and later starred in the Broadway musical "Flower Drum Song." She was the first Asian performer to win an Oscar. At the time of her death in 2007, she was the first of eight actors of Asian descent nominated for an Academy Award in an acting category. The others are Sessue Hayakawa who was nominated for The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Mako nominated for The Sand Pebbles (1966), Ben Kingsley who won Best Actor for Gandhi (1982), Haing S. Ngor who won Best Actor in a Supporting Role for The Killing Fields (1984), Pat Morita nominated for The Karate Kid (1984), Ken Watanabe nominated for The Last Samurai (2003), and Rinko Kikuchi nominated for Babel (2006).

In "Sayonara," the 1957 film version of James A. Michener's best- selling novel, she teamed with Red Buttons in a tragic subplot about
a U.S. serviceman and local woman who fall in love in post-World War II Japan. They commit suicide rather than part when he is supposed to return to America. Both won Oscars in 1957 for their supporting roles, surprising fans to whom Umeki was unknown and Buttons was a television comedian. Side Note: Japanese-born Sessue Hayakawa received a best supporting Oscar nomination for "The Bridge on the River Kwai" on the same year.

She later played Mei Li, a timid mail-order bride brought to San Francisco from China, in Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1958 show "Flower Drum Song." She was nominated for a Tony in 1958 for best actress in a musical and repeated her role in the 1961 film version. She only appeard in four more pictures during her career (such as "Cry for Happy" in 1961), along with "The Horizontal Lieutenant" "A Girl Named Tamiko" in 1962). She appeard on a 1958 cover of Time Magazine, along with actress Pat Suzuki, while appearing on the Broadway production of "Flower Drum Song."

Umeki also portrayed Mrs. Livingston, the housekeeper, in the ABC series, "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" (1969-1972), which starred Bill Bixby and Brandon Cruz. In a 1969 Washington Post interview, Bixby called her "the best actress I've ever worked with."

Born Umeki Miyoshi, she began her career as a nightclub singer (as Nancy Umeki) in Japan making several records for RCA Victor Japan, sang on Japanese radio and appearing in several musical shorts under the name "Nancy Umeki". After moving to the United States in 1955 and appearing on the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts (she was a series regular for one season), she signed with the Mercury Records label between 1955-1959 and released several singles and two albums. She sang on Japanese radio and television and in the mid-1950s while she was on the RCA Japan label, then left for the United States. Appearances on Arthur Godfrey's TV program brought her to the attention of Joshua Logan, who was to direct "Sayonara."

Her first marriage was to television director Wynn Opie in 1958. They adopted one son. Umeki retired from show business in the early 1970s and moved to Licking, a small town in the Missouri Ozarks, in the 1990s to be closer to her family. Her second husband, Randall F. Hood, who died in 1976, ran a theatrical lighting business with her that was dissolved after her husband's passing in 1976. Umeki lived for some time in Hawaii, before moving to the small town of Licking, Missouri, to be near her son and his family before she died in a nursing home at the age of 78.

1929 
UNEMPLOYMENT DURING THE DEPRESSION
Unemployment rates in Chinatown rose to 50% during the Depression.

1929 
JACL IS FORMED

Japanese American Citizens League
(JACL) was founded in 1929 to fight discrimination against people of Japanese ancestry. It is the largest and one of the oldest Asian American organizations in the United States.

1929 
FILIPINOS DRIVEN OUT

A gun-carrying mob led by the Exeter police chief drive Filipino field workers out of Exeter. The five days of the
Watsonville riots, throwing two counties into turmoil and spreading fear and hatred throughout the state, had a profound impact on California's attitude toward imported Asian labor. As a result, Filipino immigration plummeted, and while they remained a significant part of the labor in the fields, they began to be replaced by Mexicans.

1929 
FAZAL MUHAMMAD KHAN CHANGES THE RICE INDUSTRY
Fazal Muhammad Khan, a rice farmer in Butte County, contributes to the growth and development of the rice industry. California subsequently becomes one of the rice farming centers in the country.

1929 
BLACK TUESDAY

"Black Tuesday," Oct. 29, 1929, wiped 10% off the value of U.S. common stocks and seared a place in America's financial psyche.

Even today, the popular image of "the panic" is of bankrupted fat-cat investors throwing themselves to their deaths from windows high
above Wall Street. It was not the first great crash in Wall Street history. Far from it. Major sellers' panics had swept the Street in 1837, 1857, 1873, 1893 and 1907, all except the last marking the start of a severe depression. Nor was it the greatest one-day decline in the market's history.

Regardless, the stock market crash of 1929 has entered into the folk memory of the American people. Like 1492 and 1776, it is one of those dates that every schoolchild knows. Like the Alamo, the sinking of the Titanic and Custer's last stand, it has served as the
historical backdrop of innumerable novels, plays, movies and songs.

The 1920s were a period of immense prosperity for this country. The gross national product rose by 59%, and average personal income by 38%. The engine of the new prosperity was the automobile, which by then had become the largest industry in the country, led by General Motors (nyse: GM - news - people ) and Ford Motor. In that decade, cars tripled in number, and their manufacture was consuming 20% of the steel, 80% of the rubber and 75% of the plate glass.

Wall Street could be detached from economic reality for only so long, however. On the day after Labor Day, Sept. 3, 1929, the Dow reached a high of 381.17, a figure it would not see again for a quarter-century. On Sept. 5, a market analyst of no great note, Roger Babson, a perennial bear, addressed an audience in Wellesley, Mass.: "I repeat what I said at this time last year and the year before, that sooner or later a crash is coming."

No one had paid any attention before, but now, when his innocuous remark crossed the broad tape, the market reacted volcanically. In the last hour of trading, volume was a fantastic 2 million shares, and major issues declined by ten points and more.

For the next few weeks, the market trended downward as bear raids and margin calls increased. By late October, it was down over 20%. On Thursday, Oct. 24, panic swept the Street until a syndicate of bankers raised a pool of $20 million and managed to steady the market with large purchases made by the New York Stock Exchange's acting president.

But on Monday, Oct. 28, selling resumed--and on Tuesday, forever Black Tuesday, there was no stopping it. The volume of 16 million shares traded that day would be a record for nearly 40 years. The tickers did not spew out the last of the trades until five hours
after trading ended. The selling continued for another two weeks until it finally ran out of steam on Nov. 13, with the gains of the
previous two and half years wiped out.

By then, however, a greatly overbought market had become an oversold one. Buyers began to move in, and the market began to rise. In January 1930, The New York Times thought that the biggest news story of the previous year had been not the crash but Admiral Byrd's flight over the South Pole. By May, the market had recovered about half its losses of the fall. When a group of clergy visited President Hoover and asked for increased public works, he told them, "You have come 60 days too late, the depression is over."

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