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ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN
HISTORICAL TIMELINE DETAILS (1970 to 1979)

Our victories, obstacles and leaders



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


1970
MARION OBERA IS ELECTED

Marion Lacadia Obera becomes the 1st Filipina American to be appointed judge to the
Los Angeles bench.  

1970
BI-LINGUAL EDUCATION RIGHTS

Kinney Kinmon Lau and 12 others (including CAA - Chinces for Affirmative Action) sue the San Francisco Board of Ed. for bilingual education rights.  

1970 
UCLA'S 1ST KOREAN WOMAN DOCTORATE

Dr. Sue Ann Kim is the first Korean woman to receive a doctorate from UCLA, a Ph.D. in education . Kim was born in Taegur, South Korea, and taught and worked as a principal there for over ten years. She is a survivor of the Korean War and remembers a time in South Korea when "all the country was just ashes, everything was just burned." She came to the United States on a Fulbright Fellowship in 1959. Kim received her doctorate in education at UCLA in 1970. Her dissertation focused on how vocational education could be improved in South Korea.

1971
ASIAN LAW CAUCUS

Ken Kawaichi and Dale Minami co-found the Asian Law Caucus.  

1971 
LEA SALONGA

Lea Salonga is born on February 22, 1971. She is the first star from the Filipino American communities to make it in the US marketplace. Her performances in Miss Saigon and on various Disney soundtracks have allowed to attain a status previously not seen.

1971
DESEGREGATING CHINESE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

In Guey Hung Lee vs Johnson, the Supreme Court rules in favor of desegregating all-Chinese public schools. The parents had feared losing their language and culture.

1972
1ST NATIONAL CONFERENCE & FILIPINO ORGANIZATIONS ARE FORMED

First national conference of Asian Americans and Pacific Island peoples is held in San Francisco, CA. National Organization of United States Filipino American citizens is established in Seattle, WA.

1972 
CONNIE CHUNG IS ON TV

Connie Chung, news anchor and correspondent for NBC News, is the only Chinese American woman seen regularly on national television. She was among the first minority women to break into the media field when she was hired by CBS in 1972 on the basis of both affirmative action and merit considerations. Her history is filled with many types of events.

1972 
REPEAL OF "ANTI-ORIENTAL" LAWS

Federal legislation repeals two "anti-Oriental" laws, an 1872 law prohibiting entry of "Orientals" without a permit and a 1905 law banning "the import of an oriental woman with the intent to sell her."

1972
MICHAEL CHANG (1ST APA TENNIS STAR) IS BORN!
 

The 1st Asian American to win a Tennis Grand Slam, Michael Chang, was born on February 22, 1972 in Hoboken New Jersey and presently living on Mercer Island WA. He was the youngest player to win a main draw match at the U.S. Open, youngest to reach a Tour semifinal, youngest French Open / Grand Slam Champion ever in 1989 and the youngest to rank in the Top 5.

1972
DAVID LEE DESIGNS THE DAISY WHEEL PRINTER
 

David S. Lee, a pioneer in the Silicon Valley, designs the daisy wheel printer. By 1997 in the Santa Clara Valley, nearly 100 major Chinese American owned high technology firms can be identified, and scores operated by other Asian-Pacifics.

1973 
BRUCE LEE DIES

Bruce Lee's life long dream to become a star in America was realized when he was offered the film Enter the Dragon, which propelled Lee into international stardom and created a new genre of action films. Four days before the film is scheduled to be released, on July 20, 1973, Lee died in Hong Kong of an apparent cerebral edema "swelling of the brain."

1973 
LISA LING IS BORN

One of the co-hosts for ABC's "The View" is born on August 30, 2000. This upcoming
Asian American female newscaster/personality is the latest example of inroads of Asian Americans being seen on national television in a positve manner. Despite the intense scrutiny and interesting choices (i.e. Old Navy commercial), she is an excellent role models for other Asian Americans (female and male).

1973 
"ORGANIZATION OF CHINESE AMERICANS" IS FORMED

Organization of Chinese Americans, Inc.
(OCA) was founded in 1973. (OCA) is a national non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization of concerned Chinese Americans. OCA is dedicated to securing the rights of Chinese American and Asian American citizens and permanent residents through legislative and policy initiatives at all levels of the government

1973
FILIPINO PHARMACISTS ARE ALLOWED TO WORK

Prompted by the large presence of highly experienced Filipino American pharmacists, a bill is signed into law allowing foreign trained pharmacists to practice in California.

1974
THE PHRASE ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN IS BORN

On May 18 - the term "Asian Americans and Pacific Island peoples" is coined.

1974
ASIAN AMERICAN WORKERS ARE NOT HIRED

Chatham Square Rally in New York, NY. Prompted by the failure of DeMatteis Corp. to hire Asian American construction workers for Confucius Plaza, Asian Americans for Equal Employment stages a demonstration. Later that year, Asian Americans for Equal Employment succeeds in getting over 40 Asian Americans workers hired for construction of Confucius Plaza in New York. Garment workers and elderly were among the diverse groups that joined the campaign.  

1975
130,000+ REFUGEES ARRIVE!

More than 130,000 refugees enter the U.S. from Vietnam, Kampuchea, and Laos as Communist governments are established there.

1975
PROTESTS IN NEW YORK AND PHILADELPHIA
 

Over 2500 New York Chinatown residents demonstrate outside City Hall against police brutality. State bulldozers tear down a part of Philadelphia Chinatown Community for a highway, despite promises not to tear down Chinatown area without the consent of the community.

1975
SOUTHEAST ASIAN REFUGEE CAMP OPENS

1975
FILIPINOS RECOGNIZED

H.B.666 introduced in CA calls for the recognition of Filipinos as a significant and specific minority group.

1975
1ST FESTIVAL HELD

Chinese Historical Society of Southern California is established. End of war in Southeast Asia results in many ethnic Chinese immigrants and refugees, some of whom eventually relocate to Chinatown.

1976
EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066 IS RESCINDED

President Gerald Ford rescinds Executive Order 9066.  

1976
ABC'S "DON HO SHOW"

From October 1976 to March 1977, Don Ho hosted a half-hour daytime variety series, The Don Ho Show, broadcast over ABC-TV.

1976
ESTABLISHMENT OF EAST COAST ASU

Pan-campus conference at Yale leads to establishment of East Coast Asian Student Union (ECASU).  

1976
HAMPTION VS. WONG MOW SUN

Hampton v Wong Mow Sun Supreme Court rules that Civil Service cannot deny employment on basis of race.  

1977
CHINATOWN ORGANIZATION IN BOSTON IS FORMED

Chinatown People's Progressive Association (CPPA) open up in Boston and New York.  

1977
SAN FRANCISCO PROTEST

Multiracial crowd of thousands forms a human chain around International Hotel in San Francisco in attempts to stop the eviction of low-income tenants, many of whom were elderly Filipinos.

1977
SOUTHEAST ASIAN CITIZENS

Congress passes a law allowing Southeast Asian refugees to become permanent residents upon request.  

1977 
SAN FRANCISCO'S MANILATOWN DIED

In the wee hours of Aug. 4, 1977, more than 50 Asian immigrants, most from the Philippines, were evicted from the International Hotel on Kearny and Jackson streets in San Francisco. Many in the community say an important part of the city's history was lost that day. On Tuesday: August 5, 2004 - that history was resurrected as city officials declared a two- block corridor of Kearny Street as "Manilatown," a designation that will serve as a reminder of the first but nearly forgotten Filipino community established in San Francisco.  

1977
WING F. ONG DIES

1977
CHINESE LIBRARY OPENS

The Chinatown branch of the Los Angeles Public Library opens.  

1977
START OF ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

June 1977 - Representative Frank Horton (R-NY) and Norman Y. Mineta (D-CA) introduced Pacific/Asian Heritage Week (House Resolution 540) in the House of Representatives, which called upon the President to proclaim the first ten days of May as Pacific/Asian Heritage Week.
July 19, 1977 - Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced SJ Res 72 in the Senate, similar to legislation introduced by Frank Horton and Norman Mineta in the House.

1978 
ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH IS OFFICIAL

July 10, 1978 - House Representatives passed legislation to proclaim an Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week in May. The proclamation had to be obtained yearly because the final Joint Resolution did not contain an annual designation.
Oct. 5, 1978 - President Jimmy Carter signed the Joint Resolution

CONSCIOUSNESS OF ASIAN AMERICANS RECOGNIZED BY THE UNITED STATES
This proclamation and legislation is the United States' official recognition that from their first days on these shores, Asian Americans fought against the discrimination they faced. Strikes, slowdowns, and legal actions were common. It is little known, for example, that Filipino farm workers actually initiated the famous grape boycott of the 1960s, which was then joined by Mexican workers and tremendously amplified under the leadership of Cesar Chavez. Most of these struggles were fought on a nationality or class basis.

It was not until the late 1960s that a common racial/panethnic identity took hold among Asian Americans. Several facts contributed to this delay: different Asian nationalities immigrated in different historical periods, they rarely lived or worked in the same geographical areas, most were immigrants until the 1960s, and their native languages were unintelligible to each other. Thus there was no amalgamation of the Asian nationalities as their had been, say, among the different African ethnicities under slavery (and that took many generations). Although Asians in the United States fell victim to the same racial laws and customs and followed the same racialized patterns, the predominant consciousness remained ethnic/national, not panethnic or racial.

The development of Asian-American consciousness took place in the 1960s when, for the first time, the majority of Asians in this country were U.S. born. It was an explicitly political consciousness influenced by the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of that era. And it was cemented for many by the murderous racist dehumanization of Asians exhibited by the U.S. government, press, and armed forces during the Vietnam War.

To be Asian American was not a simple recognition that one had roots in Asia; it meant to reject the passive racist stereotype embodied in the white-imposed term "Oriental" and to embrace an active stance against war and racism. The people of color movements of the 1960s led to the rejection of the term "Negro" in favor of "Black" or "Afro-American"; it produced the new concepts of "La Raza" and "Chicano"; and it gave rise to "Asian American."

Unbeknownst to many people, including many movement people, the Asian-American movement of the late 1960s and 1970s was of mass proportions and dramatically transformed the political (and personal) consciousness and institutional infrastructure of the different Asian-American communities. In addition, influenced by the powerful Vietnamese, Chinese, and Korean communist parties of the time, many Asian-American activists turned to Marxism and became a major presence in the U.S. communist and socialist movements of the period.

However, neither racism nor racial consciousness among Asians has ever supplanted either the consciousness or the reality of nationality. Indeed, the tremendous increase in immigration since 1965 has reproduced an overriding foreign-born majority among Asians residing in the United States and has further strengthened national/ethnic consciousness.

IMPORTANCE OF RECOGNIZING ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN COMMUNITIES
The racialization of nationality was a critical event in U.S. history that has shaped today's social formation and even impacted its foreign policy. The racial formation of Asian Americans since the Immigration Reform of 1965 has been very different than the pre-1965 period. The civil rights achievements of the 1960s and 1970s, the structural change of U.S. capitalism to what is sometimes called "post-industrial society," the immigration reform of 1965, and globalization have reshaped the Asian-American communities and their status in U.S. society. Because of their educational level, Asian Americans, along with white women, were probably the main beneficiaries of affirmative action.

Immigration reform has enabled the Asian-American population to explode from only about one million in 1965-mostly Chinese, Japanese, and Filipinos-to something like 13 million, emanating from numerous Asian countries today. Consequently, the majority of Asian Americans today have no family connection to Asian-American history prior to 1980.

The provisions of the 1965 immigration act and subsequent legislation have reinforced the class trends set in motion by exclusion. These laws allow Asian immigrants to enter this country primarily based on their family connections to the disproportionately merchant/professional population already here (family reunification) or based on their unique technical or professional skills. Consequently the highly educated and middle-class section of the Asian-American population has been reproduced on a bigger scale. At the same time, many of those entering based on family reunification are workers with few resources and limited English-speaking skills, so the numbers of isolated sweatshop workers in Asian enclaves have also grown.

The working-class section of Asian Americans has been expanded by Southeast Asians who entered the United States not under immigration law, but under refugee law after the failed U.S. wars of aggression in Indochina. The socio-economic profiles of Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, and Hmong in the United States are very similar to those of Native Americans, blacks, and Latinos.

Asian Americans today have the highest median education and household income levels but at the same time unusually high percentages of Asians live in poverty and have minimal education. Among the hard working are the millions of extremely poor Asian-American workers who are often rendered invisible in the mythical Asian success story. The many vibrant left and progressive Asian-American organizations today tend to concentrate their organizing efforts precisely among these immigrant workers, many of whom are women. Class looms large in Asian-American politics.

1979 
ASIANWEEK FORMED

In August 1979, one person, the late John Fang, with just a few employees and a splash of red ink on the cover, came up with a vision that would serve as a major cornerstone in binding, melding and molding a collective voice for our community: He founded AsianWeek newspaper. AsianWeek became the first and continues to be the only paper to publish weekly from a shared Asian American perspective, using the English language as a connecting source to bind all of us.

It was a daunting challenge to cover an entire community as diverse as Asia and as wide as the United States. But carefully and meticulously, AsianWeek began to establish a nationwide network of correspondents and civic/community leaders. The job of these correspondents and community leaders was to provide a national perspective.

AsianWeek harnessed this tremendous amount of data into a two- pronged directive: to advocate against injustices and to draw attention to Asian American individuals who were succeeding and making a difference in our community.

AsianWeek acted as a forum in advocating for those Asian Americans who were defenseless and voiceless in the face of an uncaring power. Whether it was in bringing much-needed national and decisive exposure to the killing of Vincent Chin or in demanding justice for Wen Ho Lee and Capt. James Yee, the strength of AsianWeek has been its unequivocal eagerness to support our community.

Conversely there has always been an equal effort given to highlighting those Asian Americans who, through their cultural background and hard work, have become successful symbols to both our community and all of America.

AsianWeek has always and continues to place a special emphasis on the political involvement of Asian America. Politics in America is an immediate and tangible vehicle to ensure equal opportunity and social justice for all Americans. Regardless of party affiliation, the effort to become more politically conscious is essential to preventing miscarriages of justice like the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

1979
SWEATSHOP PROTESTS

Chinatown Strike Force brings civil suit against 85 "sweatshops" for employing workers, some of them children, for 12 hours a day for less than minimum wage.

1979
DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS REUNITES CHINESE AMERICAN FAMILIES


Resumption of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and the United States of America reunites members of long-separated Chinese American families.

1979 
ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN WEEK IS ESTABLISHED BY PRESIDENT CARTER

In 1977, two congressmen read House Resolution 540 to the House of Representatives, which asked the President to proclaim the first ten days of May as
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed a final Joint Resolution, which secured an annual designation of the first week of May as the Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.

RACIAL FORMATION OF THE ASIAN AMERICAN COMMUNITIES:
(Finally) Recognizing the history of Asian Americans (this country’s first “aliens ineligible to citizenship”) is important (to be celebrated) because it was precedent-setting in the racialization of nationality and the incorporation of nationality into U.S. race relations. The racial formation of Asian Americans was a key moment in defining the color line among immigrants, extending whiteness to European immigrants, and targeting non-white immigrants for racial oppression that has led to the “new thinking” about relations as multipolar. By the time of Chinese immigration in the 1850s . . . click HERE to continue this story,

BACKGROUND BEHIND THIS LEGISLATION:
Jeannie Jew, a third generation Chinese American, has been credited as the driving force behind the designation of May as the Asian Pacific American Heritage month. Jew's grandfather, M.Y. Lee, came to U.S. in the mid-1800's. He helped build America's first transcontinental railroad and later became a prominent Chinese community leader and businessman. In the late 1800's, Chinese laborers were blamed for the depression. M.Y.Lee was killed while defending the civil rights of fellow Chinese Americans. According to an interview with Asian Week (May 1997), Jew said that APAs should be part of the history of America. "It is important that Americans understand our past, the importance of our presence, and how critical we are to the future of America."

With the help of her friend, Ruby Moy, the two women took the campaign to Capital Hill. In 1977, the Asian Pacific American Heritage Week was introduced as House Resolution 540. In 1992, President George Bush signed the legislation into law (HR5572) and designated May of each year as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Three reasons why Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is in May:

  • 1. The first Japanese immigrants came to the U.S. in May, 1843.
  • 2. The transcontinental railroad was completed on May 10, 1869.
  • 3. School is still in session and APA month can be integrated into the school curriculum.

    1979
    LOIDA NICHOLAS-LEWIS

    Filipina American Loida Nicholas-Lewis, winning a bias suit against the US, is sworn in as Attorney for the INS.

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