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ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN
HISTORICAL TIMELINE DETAILS (1960 to 1969)

Our victories, obstacles and leaders


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


1960 
MC CARTHYISM HITS THE ASIAN AMERICAN COMMUNITIES

Kimm v Rosenberg, Supreme Court rules that a Korean national should be deported for refusing to answer whether he is a Communist.  

1961 
DEATH OF ANNA MAY WONG

She was set to return to Hollywood, with the large role of Auntie Liang in Hunter's production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song, when, on Feb. 3, 1961 - she died of a heart attack following liver disease. She was 56.

1962 
WING LUKE IS ELECTED

Wing Luke is the son of an immigrant laundryman. When Luke won a seat on the Seattle City Council in 1962, he became the first
Asian American elected official in the Pacific Northwest. After his tragic death in a 1965 plane crash, the community fulfilled his dream by establishing a multi-cultural Asian American museum in 1967.

1962 
CATHAY BANK IS CHARTERED

Cathay Bank in Los Angeles and Bank of Trade in San Francisco are chartered simultaneously, marking a new era of economic leadership in the Chinese American community and the first Chinese-American commercial bank in Southern California. Its mission is to provide financial services to the growing Chinese and other Asian communities throughout the area. Presently, Cathay Bank is ranked as the fifth largest commercial bank in Los Angeles County with total assets exceeding $2.3 billion with 21 branches throughout California, New York, and Texas and two representative offices in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Cathay Bank's Web site is found at www.cathaybank.com.

1963 
FIRST CHINESE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY FORMED

The Chinese Historical Society of America, conceived in San Francisco in the fall of 1962, was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization on January 5, 1963.

The Society is the first such Chinese American historical society in North America. Its first major publication, A History of the Chinese in California: A Syllabus has become a classic resource book used by students, historians, educators, and scholars in their research and writing about the Chinese in America.

To accommodate our expanding programs and exhibitions, CHSA opened the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum and Learning Center in the historic Julia Morgan Chinese YWCA building in November 2001.

Their principals are as follows:

  • to establish, maintain, and operate a scientific, literary, and educational organization;
  • to study, record, acquire, and preserve all suitable artifacts and such cultural items as manuscripts, books, and works of art or their facsimiles which have a bearing on the history of the Chinese living in the United States of America;
  • to establish a headquarters to enable the display of such items as are acquired;
  • to issue papers and publicity pertaining to the findings of the Society; and
  • to promote the contributions that Chinese Americans living in this country have made to the United States of America.

1965 
IMMIGRATION QUOTAS ARE ELIMINATED

The immigration quotas and acts implemented for the past 30 years were finally completely eliminated.
Immigration Law abolishes "national origins" as basis for allocating immigration quotas to various countries - Asian countries now on equal footing. Furthermore, the U.S. provided for political refugees who were involved in the Vietnam war that began in 1955. The result was a large increase in the Asian-immigrant population in the U.S. The Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) led by Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz organizes a strike against Delano grape growers and is later joined by the National Farm Workers Association led by Cesar Chavez.

The Immigration and Nationality Act, popularly known as the Hart-Cellar Act, was signed into law on October 3, 1965, abolishing the "national origins" quota system established in 1924. In era of civil rights awareness, the system, which heavily favored northern Europeans, had come under increasing attack as being racially biased. The Immigration and Nationality Act established a new quota system of 20,000 from each country with a total of 170,000 immigrants allowed each year and allowed exemptions for reunifying families. Further, it gave preference to people with professional skills needed in the United States. This led to a dramatic increase in the number of immigrants from all over South Asia.

PAST RAMIFICATIONS:
The period of exclusion which lasted until the change in immigration laws in 1965 had produced ethnic Asian enclaves. These were stratified between an unusually large merchant/business class tied to conservative or reactionary home governments and backed by the "dual structure of domination" and workers who were isolated in these enclaves or agricultural areas, stripped of their rights by the combined power of U.S. racism and home-country dictatorships. The latter were forced to work almost exclusively for compatriot businessmen under working and pay conditions that bore no resemblance to that of the mainstream of the U.S. working class.

Small entrepreneurs (and later, their often college-educated children) were only one side of the problem. The other problems were the majority of Asians who were workers, but workers in extremely oppressive conditions. They were largely excluded from jobs with mainstream white employers and the government by racist laws and practices, and by the lack of English-speaking skills. Thus, they had little choice but to work for Asian employers as menial laborers in restaurants, garment factories and other sweatshops, laundries, farms, and grocery and dry goods stores. These employers were not only non-union, they paid extremely poor wages and provided awful working conditions based not on the standard of American business, but on a standard unique to their captive ethnic labor force.

1965
1ST ASIAN AMERICAN TO THE FEDERAL COURT

President Richard M. Nixon appointed
Judge Herbert Choy, a Korean American, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Choy thus became the first Asian American to be named to a federal court.  

1965
INFORMATION & LAWS AGAINST THE CHINESE SEX TRADE
 

In 1865, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a "Order to remover Chinese Women of Ill-Fame from certain Limits in the City." The next year, the California legislature approved "An Act for the Suppression of Chinese Houses of Ill-Fame." Some interesting facts related to these laws are as follows: in 1855, the number of Chinese women in San Francisco was only 5% of the total Chinese population there. More interestingly, a high percentage of early Chinese women immigrants to the United States worked in the prostitution trade. In fact, even as late as 1870, over 50% of Chinese women in the United States worked in the prostitution trade.

1966
MARCH FONG EU

March Fong Eu is elected to the California Legislature, becoming the first Asian American assemblywoman in California history.

1968
ETHNIC STUDY PROGRAMS @ SF STATE

Students on strike at San Francisco State University to demand establishment of ethnic studies programs.  

1967 
BOBBY WOO JR.: 200,000,000 AMERICAN BORN

In 1967, the United States was mired in Vietnam, dozens died in race riots in Detroit, Thurgood Marshall became the first African-American Supreme Court justice and an Atlanta woman named Sally Woo had a
very special baby at Crawford W. Long Memorial Hospital.

Woo had no idea just how special her baby was until Life magazine told her Robert "Bobby" Ken Woo Jr., born at 11:03 a.m. on Nov. 20, was the 200,000,000th American.

The nation has become more ethnically diverse over the last three decades, with minorities making up 33 percent of the population in 2004, compared with 16 percent in 1970, according to Haub.

Woo's father, Robert Ken Woo Sr., grew up in Augusta, home to a generations-old Chinese-American community founded by laborers who widened the Augusta Canal after the Civil War.

Bobby Woo Jr., with wife Angie and daughters Erin, 6, Caeley, 16 months, and Megan, 3, at home in Atlanta, became the first Asian and Pacific-American partner at King & Spalding law firm.  

1969
ETHNIC STUDY PROGRAMS @ BERKELEY AND S.F. STATE

Students at the University of California, Berkeley, go on strike for establishment of ethnic studies programs. San Francisco State offers 1st Asian American Studies courses as part of independent Ethnic Studies program.

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