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Our victories, obstacles and leaders

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


Anti-Filipino riot occurred in Watsonville, California and in
Kent Washington. 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. The Japanese American Citizens League's first national convention was held in Seattle on August 29.


The struggle for better working conditions was given a decided boost when a group of Filipino farm workers organized the Agricultural Workers League in 1930. The organization was set up to initiate large-scale unionization of Filipino workers and threaten field owners with the real possibility of paralyzing strikes. With the seeds planted, unionization moved forward. In 1933 Rufo Canete and other Filipino labor leaders met in Salinas and formed the Filipino Labor Union (FLU). Largely as a result of grower recruiting in the Philippines and Hawaii, where thousands of young Filipinos worked in the sugar fields, the California Filipino population grew from only five in 1900 to over 30,000 by 1930, when Filipino workers made up nearly 15 percent of all California agricultural workers.

Nearly 3000 Filipinos working in Alaskan canneries.

In the early 1930s,
James Crawford ("Jimmie") Angel - was a daredevil pilot and a "hell-raising soldier of fortune" obsessed with finding gold - secretly trains a group of Chinese to fly at the behest of the Chinese government. In 1931, after a year of training at Dycer Airfield on Western Avenue, the cadets in the so-called Chinese Flying Club returned home, where they reportedly became instructors in the Chinese air force.

In the 1920s, he smuggled Chinese immigrants into the United States from Mexico. The aircraft that he used - described as a "hybrid junk pile" - included a "passenger compartment that was carefully boxed in with light plywood with no sign of a belt or grip to which passengers might hold. When asked about the design, he said 'I built it that way so that in case I got [Chinese] aboard and the revenue [agents] chased me, I can slip offshore 15 or 20 miles and dump 'em out. Get me?"


Ng Poon Chew (March 14, 1866 - March 13, 1931) was known as the "Father of Chinese Journalism on the West Coast." This pioneer was an author (in 1905 co-authored "A Statement for Non-Exclusion and in 1908 wrote "The Treatment of the Exempt Classes of Chinese in the United States), journalist, publisher, speaker (lectured throughout the United States on topics such as "Christian Missions Among the Chinese" / in 1906, he consistently spoke in favor of a relaxation of the exclusionary legislation and was dubbed the "Chinese Mark Twain" because of his mastery of the use of humor in the English language), philantropist (supported Sun Yat-sen's reformation fund-raising efforts, member of the Freemasons and first Chinese to become a Shriner) and advocate for Chinese American civil rights. He published the first Chinese language daily newspaper to be printed outside of China. He graduated from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1892 and received numerous awards (Litt.D. Honorary Degree Conferred in 1913 from the University of Pittsburgh). Ng traveled the country speaking out against anti-Chinese legislation, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act. He also published books and pamphlets opposing discrimination against Chinese Americans. Eventually he became one of the most famous Chinese-Americans to take up the cause of Chinese-Americans. He lectured on the Chautauqua and Lyceum speaking circuits educating Americans about China and the Chinese communities. He tried to foster good relations between the United States and China and was recognized for his expertise and skill in addressing a wide variety of topics. His sense of humor, keen wit and fluency in English made him exceptionally popular with audiences. He participated in activities with the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the American Economic Association. He was one of the first Chinese immigrants to become nationally known and was called the "Chinese Mark Twain."

"People in this country think more of the accumulation
of the means of living than reflect upon the character
and value of the life lived."
Ng Poon Chew

Ng Poon Chew was born in the Sinning District of the Guangdong/Kwangtung Province of Southern China. His father, Ng Yip, and mother, Wong Shu Hok died in his infancy, as a result - he was raised by his grandmother. Chew attended a traditional village school that taught a curriculum based on Confucian principles and became an assistant in a Taoist Temple. When his uncle returned in 1879 to live a life of leisure with a modest fortune $800 that he earned by mining gold in California and exciting stories, Chew decided to pursue the same dream.

In 1881, Chew (along with a cousin) traveled down the Pearl River to Hong Kong by junk and across the Pacific by steamer arriving in San Francisco at the height of the debate over the exclusionary laws against Chinese entry into the United States. The cousin went back to work in his old job (where he had worked on his earlier trip to California) in a fruit orchard in San Jose and Chew went to work as a houseboy on a nearby ranch while attending local schools.

Chew encountered anti-Chinese sentiments when "American" residents bullied and harassed him while he was running errands for the ranch. During one encounter between Chew and the local street toughs, Mrs. Carey, a local Sunday School teacher, befriended Chew and introduced him to her school where she taught several other young Chinese men. A short time later the school burned down and arson was suspected. Mrs. Carey never fully recovered from the trauma of losing her school, but Chew continued to study with her and progressed rapidly in learning English while becoming became lifelong friends. Chew converted to Christianity in 1883 and remained in the San Jose area working in low paying domestic jobs until 1884. While in San Jose he cut off his queue, became a student of U.S. culture, studying English and adopted Western dress attire.

He became the public face of opposition to the Chinese Exclusion Act.

In October 1884, Chew was accepted by Reverend Augustus Loomis (who died in 1891 and succeeded by Reverend Ira Condit) for entry into San Francisco Presbyterian Church's "Ministry Program" as the result of mrs. Carey's "Letter of Introduction." Chew's living expenses were subsidized by an anonymous patron and he attended fulltime the Church Day School operated by the Women's Occidental Board of the Presbyterian Church) full time. As the result of an assignment in 1888 to introduce the Chinese fishermen of the Bay Area to the Bible and learn of their needs, he was selected to attend the San Francisco Theological Seminary upon his graduation from the Ministry Program. After graduating from Seminary School in 1892, he married Chun Fah in May and became the first Chinese Presbyterian Minister on the West Coast at Chinese Presbyterian Church that same year.

Ng was a popular and respected speaker, respected for his keen wit, mastery of the English language, and passionate deliveries lambasting discrimination against Chinese Americans, and many public speaking engagements.

He was assigned to the church on Sacramento and Stockton Streets as Reverend Condit's assistant. Chew served in the San Francisco assignment for a year before being transferred to Los Angeles to head the church there (now called True Light Presbyterian Church) from 1894 to 1899. Despite his efforts, he was unable to increase its membership and when a fire destroyed the Los Angeles Mission building in 1898, the Presbyterian Church decided that it would not support any domestic missions in California except the one in San Francisco. Ng protested the decision, saying that the Chinese in America often contributed to the success of the Christian outreach in China.


Beginning in the mid-1800s, Chinese people began to immigrate to the United States. Many came to escape economic and political troubles in China and to find work in America. Chinese immigrants became an important part of the labor force on the West Coast and in port cities along the Eastern seaboard. As their population grew in the later 1800s, the Chinese Americans began to re-create their traditional cultural practices in America. In the 1800s, most Chinese Americans settled in California. San Francisco, located in northern California, was the first major city to host a large Chinese population. In the city, many of the Chinese lived near one another, in the city's Chinatown.

Though the Chinese came to America hoping for new opportunities, their arrival was often met with anger and resentment. From the 1850s through the late 1870s, thousands of people left China and moved to California in search of jobs and stability. These immigrants were met with increasing anger as the number of immigrants swelled and jobs became scarce. In 1882, the government formally outlawed Chinese immigration with the Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned Chinese laborers from entering the United States for 10 years. This is an example of the kinds of legal documents that were passed by the California state legislature clarifying anti-immigration laws on the basis of race.

Chinese in the United States saw themselves as much more than a marginalized immigrant group in the early twentieth century. They were keenly aware of global economic and political trends and endeavored to forge a meaningful place for themselves and for China within these changes. Their concerns can be seen in the editorials of the three San Francisco-based Chinese newspapers from 1911 to 1927. The three papers articulated competing political voices. The Chinese World was founded in 1900 by constitutional reformers Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao, and by 1911 it had become identified with the interests of San Francisco Chinese elites. Young China was the voice of revolutionary parties and attitudes associated with Sun Yat-sen. The Chung Sai Yat Po, published by the Christian businessman Wu Panzhao (Ng Poon Chew), promoted Christianity, commerce, and adaptation to American values.

Their editorial wars were mostly fought over Chinese politics but also over international and local events such as the 1911 massacre of Chinese in Torre Mexico, by revolutionary troops, the 1915 anti-Japanese boycott, the Panama Exhibition of 1915, and local discriminatory legislation. Contending opinions on these events created a forum not only for the formulation of political ideologies but also for the articulation of local conflicts and ambitions. Of particular note is the fact that, despite the overseas Chinese reputation as the "hearth of the revolution," Chinese in San Francisco were generally critical of Sun Yat-sen, whom they accused of fostering anarchy, communism, and social disorder for the sake of personal ambition.

At that time, when Chew and Chun Fah had four children with no income, he decided to focus his efforts on establishing a Chinese language newspaper that would be of more value to the Chinese communities by informing them about issues affecting them through the written word. Chew worked at a Japanese language newspaper in Los Angeles for two months to gain some experience with the mechanics of newspaper publishing, borrowed money from his congregation to purchase a small press and type, and hired two of his relatives to help him. They set up shop in a poor neighborhood in Los Angeles and on May 12, 1899, printed the first copy of the weekly Hua Mei Sun Bo (Chinese American Morning Paper). After a year of publishing his L.A.-based weekly, Hua Mei Sun Bo, Chinese merchants in San Francisco's Chinatown asked Ng to moved to San Francisco (which he did by raising $6,000 for a new larger press probably from the Pao-huang Hui - an organization that advocated the modernization of China) where he started the first Chinese language daily outside of China: Chung Sai Yat Pao that started on February 16, 1900 and lasted till 1951 while being the first Chinese language daily newspaper (often the largest - circulation-wise) to be reprinted outside of China. Ng was its managing editor and English-language translator, Teng I-yun served as its first editor and John Fryer (professor of Chinese literture at the University of California at Berkeley) worked on its editorial staff. Under his efficient management it became a pronounced success and in May, 1906, its stock was valued at $500 per share.

His newspaper generally promoted an assimilationist viewpoint that supported reform and progressive ideas, encouraging Chinese American readers to adapt to North American values while speaking out against customs such as foot-binding and polygamy. He also used his paper to cover issues (gangs and illegal activities in Chinatown) important to the Chinese American community at home and abroad including the revolutionary activities then going on in China with the pending collapse of the Qing Dynasty. Chew and his new daily paper quickly attracted opposition from the official representatives of the Ching Dynasty in America and from the Tongs who controlled most of the illegal activities in Chinatown. As a Christian, Chew used his newspaper to espouse reform and progressive ideas. He claimed that Chung Sai Yat Po should be a beneficial influence on the Chinese community, contributing to its enlightenment, morals and welfare by attacking antiquated customs as opium usage, footbinding, polygamy, the wearing of queue (a traditional hair style for men) and idolatry. It promoted education and adaption of American society noted by Ng himself adapting an American attire. Ng Poon Chew wanted Chung Sai Yat Po to be non-partisan in Chinese politics, but that was not always possible. As the result of circumstances, Ng agreed to print 11,000 copies of Tsou Jung's Ko-min Chun (Revolutionary Army) for distribution in the United States. This was a revolutionary tract that aroused enthusiasm for Sun Yat-sen and increased anti-Manchu sentiment (they overthrew the Ming Dynasty) among Chinese people. (Manchu people overthrew the Ming dynasty).

he (Ng Poon Chew) was convinced that China's military weakness had led to injustices against Chinese in this country in violation of treaty agreements. Reaction to the abuses and indignities by U.S. immigration authorities against Chinese led to the anti-American boycott in 1905 by Chinese in China, Southeast Asia, Hawaii and the Americas.

In 1901, Chinese Christians sent him on a national tour to educate the public about the Chinese and the need for changes in immigration laws. But gradually he was convinced that China's military weakness had led to injustices against Chinese in this country in violation of treaty agreements. Reaction to the abuses and indignities by U.S. immigration authorities against Chinese led to the anti-American boycott in 1905 by Chinese in China, Southeast Asia, Hawaii and the Americas. Chung Sai Yat Po endorsed the boycott and carried news about its progress.

In April 1904, he assisted Sun Yat-sen when he was detained by immigration officials. In 1905, in the wake of the Chinese boycott of American goods anti-Chinese sentiment escalating throughout the country, Chew went on a well-received cross country speaking tour to explain to American audiences the relationship of the boycott to the way in which Chinese were treated in America and the discriminatory anti-Chinese laws. During this tour, he addressed the House of Representatives and met with President Theodore Roosevelt - along with speaking at schools and forums. He became the public face of opposition to the Chinese Exclusion Act. Despite his efforts, the public opinion did not change while America remained opposed to the "yellow peril" and restrictive immigration practices were not modified.

As a noted Chinese leader, Ng Poon Chew was asked in 1905 to speak to American audiences at forums and schools. He explained to them that the widespread boycott was not aimed at the American people but at the U.S. exclusion policy against the Chinese. Thus, he spoke at the National Civic Federation Conference on Immigration held in New York City. The Chinese Six Companies sent him on a tour, during which he met with President Theodore Roosevelt. Though not much came of it, Ng felt that one result was the categorization of Chinese ministers and newspaper editors as "educators" instead of "laborers," thereby exempting them from exclusion. He wrote with Patrick J. Healy " A Statement for Non-Exclusion (1905) about the immigration issue. Three years later, he delved into the topic with another publication, The Treatment of the Exempt Classes of Chinese in the United States (1908).

Chew decided to write a book outlining the history of the Chinese in America and the contribution that they had made to the building of the country. By April 18, 1906 the manuscript was approaching completion when San Francisco was rocked by a terrifying earthquake followed by an all-consuming fire that destroyed Chinatown and Chew's manuscript - along with the entire newspaper's printing plant and all its records. The book was never published.

Click HERE for Bio Info
He (Welly Yang) says he didn't know a lot of the historical context in the show ("Making Tracks" - The plot is about a young Asian American rock musician uncovers the stories behind his family’s six-generation struggle to find a voice in America.) until fairly recently.

"There's the ethnic studies types who know it all," he says, "but I had a fairly elite education and it wasn't until that education was over that I discovered a lot of this on my own. I didn't know the history of Asian immigration, that they weren't even allowed to immigrate for a quarter of the nation's history or something ridiculous like that. I had never even heard of that."
Click HERE for more info>>>
"No one will know who we are
until we know who we are" (Malcolm X )

Brief Background
Welly Yang is a 2nd generation Taiwanese American graduate with honors in Political Science/International Relations from Columbia University. Click HERE for More Background Information

After the fire, Chew reestablished his offices in Chinatown and moved his family to Oakland. He accepted the Ching Dynasty's offer of being an advisor to the Chinese Consul in San Francisco. During 1906 he continued to speak out in favor of a relaxation of the exclusionary legislation and was dubbed the "Chinese Mark Twain" because of his mastery of the use of humor in the English language. Chew's support of Sun Yat-sen grew in 1908 when the Empress Dowager and Kuang Hsu (heir apparent) died under "interesting circumstances" while prompting coverage of Sun's fund-raising efforts. His visit to China, as part of a delegation from the Associated Chambers of Commerce of the Pacific Coast, in 1910 prompted additional support (editorial and financially) for Sun's revolutionary policies. In 1913 Chew was named China's Vice Consul in San Francisco and in June of that year he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Pittsburgh.

Following Sun's revolution Chew was in great demand as a speaker throughout the United States. He did his best to explain events in China and to continue his fight against intolerance toward Chinese in America. Chew supported the war effort in his newspaper and worked hard on the Liberty Loan drive. Following the war Chew continued his very active participation in the Chautauqua program and visited all of the forty eight states, but racial prejudice against the Chinese still pervaded American society. When Sun Yat-sen died in 1925, he supported Chiang Kai-shek - his replacement in the Kuomintang political party with the hope that he had the strength that Sun lacked to unify China. In the United States, Chew's efforts to moderate the exclusionary laws won a small victory when in 1930 Congress agreed to permit the entry of some wives of Chinese living in the United States. Involved with the community and US-China affairs, Ng was adviser to the Chinese consulate general in San Francisco from 1906 to 1913 and vice-consul for China from 1913 until his death in 1931. On March 13, 1931 Chew died peacefully as the result of heart troubles from his strenuous speaking tours in his Oakland home surrounded by his family. Leaders of the Anglo and Chinese communities eulogized him. His survivors included his wife and five children - Mansie, Effie, Rose, Edward and Caroline. Mansie managed the Chung Sai Yat Po, which continuedto be influential in the Chinese communities during the 1930s and 1940s.

When America entered the war in 1917, Ng Poon Chew's oldest son (Edward) joined the army and was commissioned a first lieutenant - the first Chinese American to receive a commission.

Amendment to Cable Act declares that no American-born woman who loses her citizenship (by marrying an alien ineligible to citizenship) can be denied the right of naturalization at a later date.

The following listing of events of importance to MISers is based on secondaryand best estimates. A few names of individuals are listed at random for human interest purposes. Apologies to the rest of the 6,000 graduates who served so well.

January 1942
U.S. reclassifies Japanese Americans as 4-C. The War Department declares all Japanese-American men of draft age as 4-C, "Enemy Alien." Soon after, almost all of the 5,000 Nisei in the military, wherever they were stationed, were corralled and treated like prisoners. Nearly half of them were summarily discharged. The other half were put on trains and shipped to inland military installations. There they were assigned menial tasks as labor units and kept under constant surveillance.

February–March 1942
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, setting into motion the mass detention of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast. The War Relocation Authority (WRA) opens the first detention camp at Manzanar.

U.S. Congress passes Public Law 77-503 in March, making any violation of the military orders under Executive Order 9066 a crime. Minoru Yasui presents himself for arrest in Oregon for violating the curfew regulations.

April 1942
Masanori Minamoto is the first MIS linguist to be sent overseas.

May 1942
First class of 45 MISLS students graduate from the Fourth Army Intelligence School (MISLS). One team of five men, among them Yosh Hotta, were sent to Dutch Harbor Defense Command. From May 1942 to August 1945,

MIS linguists serve in various commands and battles, including the Alaskan Defense Command, South Pacific Command, Southwest Pacific Command, Central Pacific Command, Southeast Asia Command, European Command, Continental U.S. Command, and Canadian Command.

According to a 1945 report by General Charles A. Willoughby, Nisei linguists had translated 20.5 million pages by the end of the war. In the Battle of the Coral Sea, U.S. forces sink a Japanese carrier and cause heavy damage to two other carriers headed for New Guinea. This is the first defeat for Japan. U.S. Army organizes the all-Nisei Hawaii Provisional Infantry Battalion. Later, it becomes known as the 100th Infantry Battalion.

Five men from the first MISLS class are sent to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, for intelligence duty. Gordon Hirabayashi approaches the FBI in Washington to challenge the constitutionality of the exclusion and curfew regulations. Fred Korematsu is arrested in California for violating orders to report for detention.

June 1942
U.S. carrier aircraft sink all four of the Japanese Navy's aircraft carriers during the Battle of Midway. Known as the "turning point" of the Pacific War, the battle ends with U.S. victory. MIS soldiers participate in every major battle of the Pacific War after the Battle of Midway.

With the forced evacuation of Japanese Americans from the West Coast, MISLS relocates to Camp Savage, Minnesota. Now under direct jurisdiction of the War Department, the first class opens with 200 students and 18 instructors.

The curriculum emphasizes military aspects rather than general knowledge of the Japanese language. The MISLS was commanded by Commandant Colonel Kai Rasmussen, Assistant Commandant Colonel Joe Dickey, and Director of Training John Aiso.

July 1942
One hundred and ninety-eight members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team volunteer for language training at MISLS.

August 1942
U.S. Marines make the first amphibious landing in the Battle for Guadalcanal and Solomon Islands, marking the beginning of bitter combat that continues through February 1943. Captain John Burden, a graduate of the first MIS class, leads MIS soldiers in battle at Guadalcanal.

Having arrived in May and June, MIS soldiers become involved in war-front operations that begin in New Caledonia, Australia. During the Battle for Guadalcanal, MIS linguists interrogate the first captured Japanese pilot.

September 1942
Under General Willoughby, G-2. GHQ Allied Translator and Interpreter Section was organized at Indooroopily, Australia to evaluate and disseminate intelligence. Col. Sydney Mashbir commanded with staff of Maj. David Smith, Gary Kodani, and
Arthur Komori.
September to December 1942
Due to proven values of the Nisei, it became necessary that Col. Rasmussen, with Joe Matsuda, start recruiting several hundred eligible Japanese Americans from all detention camps and Hawaii. Col. Joe Dickey with Aki Oshida visit to recruit volunteers from the 100th Infantry Battalion at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin.
October 1942
Forces invade Guadacanal, under the direction of Admiral Halsey in Noumea, New Caladonia, with Major John Burdon taking the MISer Takashi Miyasaki into action followed by Captain Eugene Wright and Slim Tanaka.
Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS), a special intelligence section, is created and headquartered in Australia to evaluate and disseminate information gathered and extracted from captured documents and POWs. After the war, ATIS moves to Tokyo and becomes the center of language activities, with MIS linguists involved in large-scale operations all over Japan.
December 1942
U.S. Army recruits several hundred volunteers from detention camps on the mainland and in Hawaii for the Military Intelligence Service. Two hundred members of the 100th Infantry Battalion are transferred to the MIS Language School.
Click HERE to continue the timeline / For MIS Background Info, Click HERE
MIS Timeline - January to December 1942
MIS Timeline - January -1943 to August 1944
MIS Timeline - September 1944 to August 1945
MIS Timeline - September 1945 to December 1947
MIS Timeline - June 1950 to September 1953
MIS Timeline - 1962 to Decembere 1969
MIS Timeline - March 1972 to 1978
MIS Timeline - May 1980 to April 2000
Gero Iwai, known as the "father" of the Military Intelligence Service (MIS), becomes the first member of MIS when he is recruited as an undercover agent in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Yujiro Hayami, born in 1932, was one of the first Japanese to earn a U.S. Ph.D. in agricultural economics after World War II(Iowa State, 1960). He began his professional career in the National Research Institute of Agricultural Economics in Japan, followed by two decades' service at the Tokyo Metropolitan University. He recently moved to Aoyama-Gakuin University. He has also served as visiting professor at the University of Minnesota and as an economist with the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. He served on the Editorial Council for the American Journal of Agricultural Economics in 1972-74 and 1984-86. He has avoided administrative appointments throughout his career.

Hayami has advanced knowledge in three important areas. The first was to identify the stylized facts and working mechanisms of agricultural development through both historical and intercountry comparative analysis. His book with Vernon W. Ruttan, Agricultural Development: An International Perspective, was the major product of his effort. The main contribution of the book was to advance and test the induced innovation model of agricultural development. His second major contribution was based on a series of village level studies in the Philippines and Indonesia. These studies are reported in Asian Village Economy at the Crossroads (with Masao Kikuchi) and forthcoming book on peasants' marketing and processing activities in Indonesia. They shed new light on the institutional and organizational structure of peasantry in Asia and confirmed the power of the induced innovation model to interpret institutional change . Hayami's third contribution in the area of political economy includes The Political Economy of Agricultural Protection (with Kym Anderson) and a recently published book outlining a new theory of land reform drawing on Philippine experience, entitled Toward an Alternative Land Reform Paradigm (with Agnes Quisumbing and Lourdes Adriano). A common thread connecting these three research areas is his keen interest in the innovation inducement mechanism operating through interactions among resource endowments, technology, and institutions.


Chang Apana (Ah Ping Chang), the 5’3” former Honolulu detective and prototype of the character "Charlie Chan" in the mystery novels of the Earl Derr Biggers who weighed 145 pounds with a thin austere-looking face, died in the Queen's hospital at 7:30 p.m. Friday on December 8, 1933 and was buried in the Manoa Chinese Cemetery. Mr. Chang was seriously ill for about a month.

The fast-walking, cigarette-smoking, Panama hat-wearing sleuth who spoke fluent Cantonese, Hawaiian and pidgin English while only able to read and write Hawaiian was born at Waipio, Oahu on December 26, 1871 (some reports have him born on the Big Island) - Mr. Chang was 64 years of age at the time of his death. His family moved back to China (it is assumed that it was to the village of Oo Syak is within the Gook Doo district of Chung Shan county, which is part of Kwangtung Province / Oo Syak village of Canton) when he was three, but he moved back to Hawaii when he was 10. He was survived by his widow, Mrs. Annie Lee Kwai Apana; eight children, Annie, Rose, Margaret, Cecelia and Alexander, and, by a former marriage, Mrs. Helen Meheula, Victoria Apana and Samuel Apana; 10 grandchildren, and a brother, Chang Kwock.

He worked as a paniolo (a cowboy) in Waimea as a young man – that’s where he learned to use a whip. The Waipi'o-born Apana ad an early stint as a paniolo, picking up the whip skills he'd later use to tame opium smugglers, gamblers and children out past curfew. A wiry, slight man a little over five feet tall, Apana took a lot of hits while doggedly pursuing his suspects: The deep scar above his eyebrow was from an ax handle, and he was also thrown out of a second-floor window, run over by a horse-and-buggy and stabbed.

Serving longer than anyone else on the local police force, Mr. Chang was one of the most picturesque and best known characters in the city. His achievements (along with Lee Fook’s) resulted in the attention of novelist Earl Derr Biggers that resulted in the book "The House Without a Key" (along with the creation of the detective character “Charlie Chan”) and friendship.

Mr. Chang joined the police department when the city and county was incorporated 35 years before his death and (as a Honolulu PD detective who spoke Chinese, English and Hawaiian and who was authorized to carry a bullwhip for a weapon) was one of its most popular members until he was pensioned in May, 1932, after he had been seriously injured in an automobile accident. Apana had a great record at HPD and was a natural detective. He moved easily among Waikiki's many ethnic communities and, though just over five feet tall, was a tough but fair officer. After that, he was employed as a watchman for the Hawaiian Trust building until his death. Veteran officers tell stories of his feats of daring, especially relating to the early days of Chinese immigration to the islands when there was much opium smuggling. They say he never lost his courage, although knifed and beaten many times.

While his derring-do was enough to catch anybody's attention, a Chinese detective was in itself unusual in the era. Captivated, Harvard-educated author (and former newspaperman) Earl Derr Biggers based six novels' worth of the Charlie Chan character on Apana. "Apana's the epitome of law enforcement in Hawai'i: unique, dedicated," says Eddie Croom – police museum curator and fellow officer. "Law enforcement was his life for 34 years. He's the ultimate cop."

Keye Luke picture in a Charlie Chan movie
Before he died, Keye Luke shared that he was aware many Asians didn't like the idea of a Swede playing the Chinese detective, especially since all his children were played by authentic Asians. However, Luke didn't resent the casting nor did he feel the films were racist. He felt they may have been a bit naive, but were worthy films that presented a Chinese-American hero at a time when there were no others on screen--and gave lots of Asian-American actors like himself careers in Hollywood.

There's no getting around the fact that the vintage Charlie Chan mystery movies of the 1930s and '40s are, to put it mildly, politically incorrect in this day and age because three of the actors who brought Earl Derr Biggers' sage Chinese detective to life on screen were played by Caucasians: Warner Oland, Sidney Toler and Roland Winters. The only saving so-called “grace” was that these movies marked the first time there had been an Asian hero on screen. Biggers created Chan as a reaction against the racist Yellow Peril stories popular in the early 20th century.

It's a common mistake to believe Charlie Chan never was played on screen by Asian actors. That's not true: The first screen Chan was Japanese actor George Kuwa, followed by another Japanese, Sojin, who played Chan in a silent version of "The Chinese Parrot." E.L. Park played Chan in the first talking picture version of a Chan novel--Fox's "Behind That Curtain," a 1929 film that occasionally turns up on Fox's cable network.

There hasn't been a new Charlie Chan movie since "Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen" in 1981--a box office disaster that drew hordes of Asian pickets for the casting of Englishman Peter Ustinov as Charlie, if not for the film's general incompetence. Chan was entertainment and widely popular, though few people ever knew that Charlie Chan was based on a real Waikiki detective. At the time, America only stretched from "sea to shining sea," and not many had heard of much about Hawaii, much less Waikiki.

Side Note: A smart producer would find a charismatic Chinese actor to play a politically correct Charlie Chan who played one of the past century’s greatest detective characters that originally appealed to Earl Derr Biggers when he read about Chang Apana. Can you imagine what it must have been like to rise to prominence as a Chinese police detective of great renown in 1920s Honolulu, that melting pot of the Pacific?

Union pioneers Virgil Duyungan, Tony Rodrigo, CB Mislang, Espiritu in 1933


The Filipino Labor Union, founded in 1933, organized the Salinas Lettuce Strike. Filipino Agricultural Workers Union publishes the Filipino Journal. Some of these men formed the first Filipino-led union ever organized in the United States: the Cannery Workers’ and Farm Labors’ Union Local 18257. Based in Seattle, it was organized by "Alaskeros" who worked in the Alaska salmon canneries each summer and in the harvest fields of Washington, Oregon, and California in the other seasons. The union was in its shaky beginnings when two of its founders were murdered. Yet, although its leaders were dead, the union would not die. Instead in the next few years, it grew stronger, becoming effective up and down the West Coast.

This paper investigates the early history of the Cannery Workers’ and Farm Laborers' Union and the sense of pride and fraternity within the Alaskero brotherhood that made the union possible. Much of the credit has to be given to the Filipino community. The workers believed in community and unity. The Cannery Workers’ and Farmers’ Union’s motto was "Unity is Strength." This motto and spirit kept the union together after the death of its founders, Virgil S. Duyungan and Aurelio Simon. The union elected a new president and soon emerged stronger than before. The camaraderie and fraternity within this group of men helped them build a successful union, one of the first lasting organizations led by Asian American workers.

Filipinos are ruled ineligible for citizenship and therefore are barred from immigrating to the US.

Cannery Workers' and Farm Laborers' Union formed in Seattle. Virgil Duyungan, a Filipino cannery worker, is the first president.


In 1934, Japanese American farmers and their families trek into town from the countryside, from Boyle Heights, uptown, and West Virgil (near Echo Park), for the first annual Nisei Week festival. They line up, five and six deep, to catch a glimpse of the demure kimono-clad women like those back home. Charlie Chaplin even makes an appearance before the cheering crowd.

The ghetto, as many call it, is a thriving hub for Japanese Americans throughout Southern California. In the 1920s, Los Angeles claimed the largest population of any Japanese American community in the continental United States. In the 1930s, families began to move out of the ethnic enclave, but still returned to buy groceries on the weekend, to see the latest Japanese flicks, or--in the case of first-generation Japanese--to hang out with fellow immigrants from their home prefectures. Japanese smells filled the air. Japanese was the language on the streets.

Nisei Week was conceived during the Depression as a way of boosting business for Little Tokyo merchants. After the war, the festival provided a place for emotionally wounded Japanese Americans to reclaim their cultural heritage ... and also to prove their American patriotism. For more information go to Since the tradition began, it has only been interrupted once, for seven years during and immediately after World War II, when Japanese Americans were forcibly relocated and interned in camps.The festival grew. And inevitably, it changed.

Little Tokyo, bounded on the east by Alameda Street, on the west by Los Angeles Street, on the north by Temple and on the south by 4th Street, is one of the country's three remaining "Japantowns" (the others are in San Francisco and San Jose).

The term "nisei" means "second generation" and refers to the American-born children of Japanese immigrants. The bulk of Japanese immigration took place from 1900 to 1920, with more than 213,000 entering America.

On December 23, 1934 - Cavino "Kelly" Petillo of Huntington Park and his mechanic, Takio Hirashima, a Glendale High School student, crossed the finish line first at the LAX track (better known as Mines Field Speedway, offered escapist entertainment for as many as 75,000 fans at a time) - where the Los Angeles International Airport is located, averaging above 100 mph. Petillo, driving the Gilmore Speedway Special — the car was sponsored, like the ones in NASCAR today — would win the Indy 500 the following year.

Eddy See opens the Dragon's Den Restaurant in the basement of the F. Suie One Company with a $600 grubstake creating a restaurant different than others in L.A. Chinatown. On the exposed brick of the basement walls, Benji Okubo, Tyrus Wong and Marian Blanchard painted murals of the Eight Immortals and a dancing dragon. An arty crowd, including Walt Disney and the Marx Brothers, came to see the murals and sample the "authentic fare." Dragon's Den served egg foo young, fried shrimp and almond duck. Non-Chinese diners during the Great Depression considered these "exotic" dishes.

Eddy See also opened a small gallery in the mezzanine of the F. Suie One Company to sell the artwork of his friends, including Tyrus Wong, a student at Otis Art School, and Benji Okubo, a Japanese American artist from Riverside. Okubo met art pioneer Stanton Mcdonald-Wright while studying at the Art Student's League. He encouraged these young Asian American artists them to look to their heritage for forms and to juxtapose colors without adopting western perspectives.


In an era of American history marked by racial segregation and anti-immigrant attitudes, Washington was an anomaly as the only state in the West, and one of only eight nationwide, without laws banning racial intermarriage. During the early to mid-twentieth century, Washington was known throughout the region and the nation for its liberal social policies. Interracial couples often traveled long distances from states with anti-miscegenation laws to marry in Washington .[1] The National Urban League distributed a pamphlet that advertised the freedoms that blacks enjoyed in Seattle .[2]

This progressive legacy surely would not exist had it not been for the concerted efforts of an array of civil rights activists. When anti-miscegenation bills were introduced in both the 1935 and 1937 sessions of the Washington State Legislature, an effective and well-organized coalition led by the African American, Filipino, and progressive labor communities mobilized against the measure.

The movement against anti-miscegenation laws had two different, yet inseparable, long-term impacts on the progressive movement in Washington State . The first is obvious: it blocked legislation that would have created a precedent for other legally-mandated civil rights violations. The second effect is a bit more subtle, but equally important. In the process of disarming the anti-miscegenationists, activists uncovered their own weapon—the power of collaborative action—that would aid their charge for social reform.

The 1935 and 1937 campaigns laid the groundwork for future multi-ethnic collaboration on subsequent civil rights and progressive issues.

However, it must be said that while these groups developed a strong foundation for future action, they were neither strangers to organizing their communities, nor to one another beforehand. This coalition pulled together so well largely because of the preexisting ties that these interest groups and leaders had with their communities and with one another. Blacks, Filipinos, and the leftist labor movement were not strangers to one another. Filipinos drew together its community through the labor union. Blacks relied upon the social roles of churches. Both Blacks and Filipino organizations rallied their members. White labor utilized its broad networks to mobilize progressive workers state- and nationwide.

On June 24, 1935 - FDR granted citizenship to 500 Asian Americans for armed services during World War II.
Public Law 162 granted several hundred Asian veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces during World War I the right to apply for United States citizenship through naturalization.

At first, the
Filipinos could not be excluded due to the fact that the Philippines was a U.S. "territory" (read colony) and its people were thereby "wards," sometimes called "nationals" of the United States. Consequently, they were legally neither "citizens" nor "aliens." Ironically, this was resolved by the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1935, which simultaneously granted "Commonwealth" status with promises of eventual independence in 1946 to the Philippines and immediately cut Filipino immigration to the United States to fifty persons per year.

Thus the Chinese experience in the nineteenth century produced a new racial category-"aliens ineligible to citizenship" -and a new form of racism-exclusion - which would be applied to virtually all of the Asian nationalities that were to immigrate to the United States until after the Second World War. It fundamentally structured the social and political rights of peoples of Asian descent once here until the 1960s.

It was this common history of being considered racially inferior and not assimilable that forged the distinct (and often mutually hostile) Asian nationalities into a new panethnic racial group: ASIANS AMERICANS.

World-renowned conductor Zubin Mehta is born in Bombay, India. At the young age of 16, Mehta begins conducting the Bombay symphony while his father, the cofounder, is away on tour.

George Takei ("Mr. Sulu in Star Trek) is born.

Last ethnic strike in Hawaii.

Chinese workers'
Mutual Aid Association is founded in San Francisco to help workers of all trades get organized. Workers from restaurants, laundries, farms, and docks joined.

Jack Shirai, New York restaurant worker, is killed fighting the fascists in Spain. He was the only Japanese American in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

Larry and Trudie Long who were a popular husband-and-wife nightclub act at the Forbidden City Nightclub - among other clubs in the '40s and '50s.

Jodi Long's (their daughter) documentary traces the couple's rise from the Chinatown nightclub circuit to a coveted appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and beyond.

Known as "The Leungs," (a more Chinese-sounding name), they performed a mix of tap dancing, witty repartee and "Chinaman" caricatures that both played to and undermined the racist attitudes of the day.

The limitations facing Asian American performers become even more obvious when Larry lost a rare opportunity to play a major role in the Broadway production of Flower Drum Song, the first musical with an all-Asian cast.

Although he went on to perform in the show's traveling company, he never made it to Broadway, a failure from which his career never fully recovered.

For more information, visit Jodi Long's documentary website by clicking HERE.


Charlie Low's
Forbidden City Nightclub gained an international reputation as the nation's premiere all-Chinese nightclub showcasing Chinese American performers in All-American production numbers soon after it opened in San Francisco on December 22nd in 1938. Night club featured accomplished and renown performers. Dancers included Dorothy Toy Fong (tap dancer/actress), Stanley Toy (dancer), Bertha Lew Hing (dancer, magician), Dorothy Sun Murray (dancer), Lew Hing (dancer, magician), Dorothy Sun Murray (dancer), Jade Ling (actress/dancer), Marion Fong Got (dancer) and Noel Toy (dancer). Singers included Larry Ching (singer), Frances Chun Kan (singer), Ivy Tam (dancer/Mrs. Charlie Low) and Lily Pon (dancer, singer). These performers were featured in Arthur Dong's "Forbidden City USA" documentary.
Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman with the owner of Forbidden City - Charlie Low. (Courtesy of Deep Focus Productions)

Forbidden City was frequently compared to the Cotton Club of Harlem, which featured America's finest black entertainers. Asian American singers and dancers strutted their stuff at the San Francisco Chinatown nightclub at 363 Sutter Street, and at similar "Chopsuey circuit" nightclubs from the 1930's through the 1950's. Larry Ching, the "Chinese Frank Sinatra", Toy Yat Mar, the "Chinese Sophie Tucker", Jack Soo (the "Asian Bing Crosby"), Bubble dancer Noel Toy, the "Chinese Sally Rand" and the incomparable dance team of Toy and Wing, the "Chinese Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers" were just a few of the top notch performers headlining at the club.

Forbidden City was not the first or only such club, but it was the best known, and it became the model for the nightclub in the C.Y. Lee book and Broadway musical, The Flower Drum Song


On Saturday of June 25, 1938, California's Governor Merriam and a host of dignitaries dedicated Los Angeles Chinatown's Central Plaza in a gala Grand Opening ceremony. Central Plaza provided a magnificent hub and lexus for growth into the famous colorful, vibrant Chinese American community. Originally, New Chinatown consisted of many notable restaurants, shops, an herbal store, a grocery store, a bean cake factory, a Chinese deli and offices. In 1938, these long-time establishments were all moved from Los Angeles' Old Chlnatown, not quite a mile away.

Ex-California Governor Frank F. Merriam stated that New Chinatown "represented a monument to those Chinese who played such an important role in building the West and a lasting evidence of American Chinese amity." Gov. Merriam then dedicated a curved plaque mounted on a column of the pailou, which was "Dedicated to the Chinese Pioneers Who Participated in the Constructive History of California." Merriam was followed to the podium by Los Angeles Mayor F.L. Shaw and Supervisor Gordon L. McDonough. Chinese Consul T.K. Chang remarked that the building of New Chinatown is an example of a willingness to adopt new modern ways, that the community needed to follow this spirit to promote "our Chinese economic and social status."

Los Angeles' Chinatown was one of the nation's first malls and first modern American Chinatown, owned and planned from the ground up by Chinese, Central Plaza would provide a magnificent hub and lexus for growth into the famous colorful, vibrant Chinese American community in Southern California. Peter Soo Hoo, President of the Chinese American Association, negotiated with Herbert Lapham of the Santa Fe Railway Company to purchase land and build New Chinatown. Soo Hoo formed a corporation with twenty-eight men and women, each contributing $500 per share. New Chinatown's brightly colored buildings and tiled pagoda roofs attracted tourists, shoppers and diners. The eighteen stores and bean cake factory also served the social and economic needs of the community. The clean, contemporary appearance of New Chinatown did much to raise the status of Chinese Americans in Los Angeles. Inscribed "Cooperate to Achieve," New Chinatown's west gate was constructed as a tribute to Chinese laborers who built the railroads of California. Y.C. Hong erected the east gate in honor of his mother and the self-sacrifices of motherhood.

History of "Old Chinatown"
By 1870, an identifiable "Chinatown" of 200 or so was situated on Calle de Los Negros - Street of the Dark Hued Ones - a short alley 50 feet wide and one block long between El Pueblo Plaza and Old Arcadia Street. These early, mostly male, Chinese were mainly laundrymen, market gardeners, agricultural and ranch workers, and road builders. Despite the heavy discrimination in the late 19th century, Chinese held a dominant economic position in the Los Angetes laundry and produce industries for several years of this period. Consequently, old Chinatown flourished, expanding eastward from the Plaza across Alameda Street and eventually attaining a population of over 3000. The Exclusion Acts inhibited any real growth for many years.

In a typical experience, Chinese became lessees, subleasees or tenants of a major land or property owner, such as Apablasa. Laws prohibited most from citizenship and hence, property ownership. The Chinese densely settled a major part of Old Chinatown on the Juan Apablasa grazing grounds and vineyards, controlled by his old widow. Inability to gain ownership in large measure would have dire consequences later.

Old Chinatown in its heyday, 1890 to 1910, could count 15 or so streets and alleys, and perhaps 200 building units. It had sufficient size and sophistication to boast of a Chinese opera theater, three temples, a newspaper (for a while), and later, its own telephone exchange. Old Chinatown was a residential as well as commercial community. The slow increase in the number of women would lead to the establishment of families with children. During this time, most of today's leading Chinese family and district associations, Chinatown institutions were founded, and church missions were organized, which began the process of community acculturation. Old Chinatown, with restaurants, curio shops, and "strange" entertainments, even became an attraction for the early, pioneering breed of American tourist.

L.A.'s original Chinatown, after half a century of tenuous existence as a self-contained slum and black market for forbidden goods and services, was seized using eminent domain in the 1930s and razed to make way for Union Station, forcing 3,000 residents to start over elsewhere, their history literally paved over.

Peter SooHoo was a visionary native Chinese American born and raised in Old Chinatown. He moved with facility in both the Chinese and Los Angeles communities and gained the high trust of

He became an influential leader in the Chinese community at a relatively young age. Fluent in Cantonese and English, he became the spokesman for Chinatown to American institutions such as the Chamber of Commerce and the press.

During the 1930's, he made periodic declarations to the local papers that the reported demise of Old Chinatown was premature, and that customers in Chinatown were most welcome.

He graduated in engineering from the University of Southern California, one of the first local Chinese Americans in the field, and was the first Chinese American to join in the Department of Water and Power. His commitment to his community was total.
For more info, click

China City
June 7, 1938: A tourist attraction called China City opened on Ord Street between Main and Spring streets, drawing 10,000 visitors on its first day. The site was dreamed up by civic activist Christine Sterling, the founder of Olvera Street, after construction of Union Station pushed out Chinatown residents and shopkeepers. The Main Street gate was dedicated to the late Times reporter and columnist Harry Carr. "He would have enjoyed watching every little store going into place. Chinatown was one of his adventure lands," The Times said. It was enclosed within a miniature "Great Wall of China," with lotus pools, temple gongs, curio stands, dance pavilions, and movie sets from The Good Earth. Tourists rode rickshaws and ate Chinaburgers. They loved the atmosphere, as did dignitaries like Eleanor Roosevelt. Movie stars such as Mae West and Anna May Wong were paid to make appearances and promote the attraction. A fire leveled China City in February 1939. In the late 1930s the China City project provided an alternative for the dislocated Chinese businessman or the would-be entrepreneur. Eventually over 70 such opportunities would exist in China City for tenants. Two major fires in a decade sapped the vitality of the enterprise. Though it reopened amid great fanfare in August, business was never the same and China City was gone by the early 1950's..

The End of Old Chinatown
Seeds of decline were sown in Old Chinatown (the area east of Alameda, near downtown Los Angeles) by the 1910s. The Exclusion Acts, inducements of the new produce center at City Market that co-founded by the Chinese and a new nearby Chinatown with an evolving residential district led to a gradual population decrease in the Old Place. News of wide open gambling houses, vestiges of opium dens - often staged for the unwary tourist - and the fierce tong warfare of the period encouraged the respectable visitor to avoid the Old Quarter that made it highly dependant on Chinese residents alone.

The pending demolition of Old Chinatown to build a new railroad terminal - Union Station - was one reason the neighborhood was falling apart. Another cause was the exodus of second generation Chinese Americans, youth whose citizenship rights enabled them to secure "outside" jobs and housing. Some were ashamed of the run-down place where their immigrant parents had been forced to live. They blamed discrimination on bad publicity emanating from the media portrayals of Old Chinatown. Hundreds were forced to relocate when demolition began in December 1933, many of them elderly Chinese bachelors.  

Another important factor in Old Chinatown's increasing depression was instability and uncertainty in the actions of the landlords. With the rumors of impending City redevelopment increasing in volume with each passing year, few cared to improve or maintain their Chinatown properties - though the historic streets of Old Chinatown east of Alameda were never to be paved as a result of this downward spiral of disinterest. Housing conditions were abominable in the end, the Chinese were too impoverished to improve conditions and without a place to go - they became stubbornly reluctant to vacate.

The threat of Chinese relocation started as early as 1913 when a large portion of Old Chinatown was entangled in a three-way litigation suit between the Apablasa family and the City of Los Angeles over the ownership of Chinatown streets. It was contended that the streets belonged, not to the city, but to the estate since all street improvements had been paid for by the estate and the property had been maintained as private.

Meanwhile all the leases on the Chinatown property had expired and litigation was the one barrier which prevented the sale of the property for uses other than housing the Chinese. On December 12, 1913, all suits were dropped and six acres of Old Chinatown property were sold for $310,000, possibly for Southern Pacific track ways. On November 7, 1914, a large deal was concluded for the acquisition of all Chinatown lying east of Alameda Street. This property cost the new owner L.F. Hanchett, a San Francisco capitalist, over two million dollars. Old Chinatown was to be converted into an industrial and warehouse district while a new Chinese Colony would be developed. In time, Hanchett was found to be planning a railroad terminal instead, but he was thwarted in court as his plan lost credibility. On the fateful day of May 19, 1931, a California Supreme Court decision was upheld approving land condemnations and the construction of the new Union Station upon the site of Old Chinatown. Two years were to slip by before an acceptable Chinese relocation proposal was accepted by the City.

150 Chinese women garment workers strike for three months against the National Dollar Stores (owned by a Chinese).

1938 - Hitler's Carmaker (G.M.'s Opel)
In April 1947, indictments alleging two counts of criminal conspiracy were handed down against General Motors, Mack Truck, Phillips Petroleum, Standard Oil of California and Firestone Tires, as well as against numerous key executives of the companies.

The defendants were found guilty on one of the two counts: conspiring to monopolize the bus business by creating a network of petroleum-
based transit companies that were forbidden to use transportation or technology products other than those supplied by the defendants themselves.

The jury found the defendants not guilty on the count alleging a conspiracy to actually control those transit systems.

On April 1, 1949, the judge handed down his sentence: a $5,000 fine to each corporate defendant except Standard, which was fined $1,000.

As for National City Lines, president E. Roy Fitzgerald and his co- conspirators at GM and the other companies, they too were fined. Each
was ordered to "forfeit and pay to the United States of America a fine in the amount of one dollar." The cases were appealed - even the one-dollar penalties - all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which allowed the convictions to stand. The government filed a civil action against the same circle of companies trying to stop their continued conduct. But the government was unsuccessful.

Undaunted, National City Lines and its many subsidiaries continued into the 1950s to acquire, convert and operate urban transit systems using evolved methods.
For more info, click HERE

As consul general for the Chinese Nationalist government in Vienna, after Adolf Hitler invaded Austria in 1938, Mr. Feng Shan Ho helped many Jews escape the Nazis by issuing them visas to China. In one particularly close call, Mr. Ho managed to stave off Gestapo agents at the door of a Jewish home where he had gone to deliver a visa. Upon his 1973 retirement, Mr. Ho settled in San Francisco. In addition to being honored as one of a handful of Gentile diplomats identified by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial who saved the lives of more than 200,000 European Jews, he become a well-known figure in the community and a founding member of the Chinese Lutheran Church.

In Manila, though, a vigorous expatriate cigar manufacturer from Cincinnati had been playing poker and bridge with the likes of Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower; Paul V. McNutt, the American high commissioner; and Manuel L. Quezon, the first Philippines president.

When Alex Frieder, a expatriate cigar manufacturer from Cincinnati, saw refugees straggling to the port pleading for entry, he cajoled his high-profiled poker cronies (Dwight D. Eisenhower, Paul V. McNutt - the American high commissioner and Manuel L. Quezon - the 1st Philippines president - to let the Philippines become a haven for thousands more.

Through his efforts and Phillip - along with his two other brothers (Morris, Herbert & Henry), about 1,200 German and Austrian Jews eventually found sanctuary in the Philippines in the late 1930's, then an American protectorate, even as the liner St. Louis was turned away from Miami with a boatload of 900 Jews in a more typical example of American policy.

The story of the Manila rescue begins in 1918 with the decision of the Frieder family to move much of its two-for-a-nickel cigar business from Manhattan to the Philippines, where production would be cheaper. Alex, Philip, Herbert and Morris took turns living in Manila for two years each.

Frank Ephraim who as a child was one of the Jewish refugees in Manila and who wrote a history of the rescue, "Escape to Manila: From Nazi Tyranny to Japanese Terror" (University of Illinois Press, 2003), said that in 1937 Philip Frieder saw European Jews arriving in Manila's port from Shanghai while it was under siege by the Japanese. Shanghai remained an open port and eventually harbored 17,000 German Jews. Mr. McNutt, the high commissioner, was able to finesse State Department bureaucrats to turn a blind eye to quotas and admit 1,000 Jews a year.

Mr. Quezon's approval was also needed. Dr. Racelle Weiman, the Holocaust center's director, said there was a letter written by Alex Frieder to Morris Frieder that said skeptics in Mr. Quezon's administration spoke of Jews as "Communists and schemers" bent on "controlling the world." "He assured us that big or little, he raised hell with every one of those persons," Alex Frieder wrote of Mr. Quezon in August 1939. "He made them ashamed of themselves for being a victim of propaganda intended to further victimize an already persecuted people." Mr. Frieder combed lists of imperiled Jews for needed skills and advertised in German newspapers. The brothers and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee arranged visas, jobs and housing and raised thousands of dollars for sustenance.

In 1939, decades before the creation of the NBA, six Chinese Americans from San Francisco barnstormed across the country as members of the Hong Wah Kues, America's first all-Chinese professional basketball team. They played local all-stars or pros, including other *ethnic* teams.

In 1939 and with the opening of his Chinese restaurant (Frank Fat) in a rundown former speak-easy two blocks west of Capitol, Frank Fat (Dong Sai-Fat) started his immigrant dream story. With his $2,000 investment that he borrowed, it quickly became a favorite among state politicians, representatives, senators and government officials. Over the decades, its widespread popularity earned it the nickname of the "Third House" because it was the preferred location for legislators, lobbyists and other high-level officials - along with California's most powerful men and women - to meet, including every governor who has served California for the past 80 years - hence the restaurant most closely associated with Sacramento history and a Sacramento institution. Frank Fat - who died in 1997 - and son Wing provided a table-hopping, belly-up-to-the-bar atmosphere where legislators, lobbyists and reporters could meet and bond and learn to trust each other - where landmark bills were drafted in back booths, and tort reform arose out of a famous "napkin deal."

Only Fat's has survived on the old circuit. Also long gone are such hangouts as Bedell's, the El Mirador Hotel, Capitol Tamale, the Senator Hotel and Eilish's (the "final, final" stop). The restaurant still packs them in at lunch, but it's a different crowd: a mix of lobbyists, locals and tourists. Very few legislators. The dinner clientele is mostly nonpolitical.

Frank Fat journey started when sailed to San Francisco from China in 1919, a 16-year-old who spoke no English and carried a false ID - a penniless and illegal immigrant. He picked fruit, washed dishes, swept up, waited tables and in the beginning slept nights on the stone stairs to a restaurant's basement. Frank Fat's formula, as he once explained it: "You give people good food, a nice place to eat it in and make them happy. The Fats made customers happy by keeping their secrets - political or personal - and providing a friendly atmosphere. They knew virtually everybody's first name, treated them the same whether a senator or a staffer and served up tasty dishes. This was during the era ('60s into the early '80s) when legislators could fight guys on issues during the day and then have dinner and carouse with them at night."
Bronze statue of "Bitter Strength" commemorates the heroic efforts of the Chinese in building the transcontinental railroad. This Edward Fraughton scupture was donated to the Foundation by the Frank Fat family of Sacramento.

His efforts of remembering the history of Americans of Chinese descent, along with noteworthy people such as Him Mark Lai and others that people within the Chinese/Asian American communities, is especially noteworthy since many Chinese/Chinese Americans don't place a high priority of who came before them and/or learning from them - hence continuing the "immigrant" mentality. The success and good-will he established with politicians is more amazing considering the various racial and stereotypes that represented the country’s attitude and legislation towards people of Chinese/Asian descent - as seen in the Chinese Exclusion Convention in San Francisco, Gong Lum vs. Rice (separate but "equal" facilities for Mongolian children, the racist legislation in Chinatown, Exclusion Laws, the Alien Land Law restrictions, deportation of Tsien Hsue-Shen, the Asiatic Exclusion Leagues were formed in 1905, Sung vs. U.S. and United States vs. Ju Toy – along with the attitudes of Chinese exclusionist politicians in the early 1900s such as Samuel Gompers, Hermann Gudstadt, Terence Powderly, John Swinton, James Duval Phelan, Isaac Kalloch, Governor Pardee, additional restrictions on immigration, the internment camps and many others. His legacy of maintaining a genuine interest in people and their well-being that transcended racial, age, language barriers that partisan politics that (unfortunately) now rules politics in the 21st century. It will be interesting to witness if any of Frank Fat's family members will be participating/supporting the Chinese/Asian American communities of continuing his legacy that is beyond just providing financial resources and includes providing leadership and influence to strengthen the just-mentioned communities within the general public.

Recognizing his ability to effectively speak Chinese (Cantonese) and English, along with his financial success, it provided him membership into an unique and limited circle of Americans of Chinese descent. The Americans of Chinese descent that were part of this social circle would/could include the following: Dalip Singh Saund (1st Asian American politician whose jurisdiction was Riverside and Imperial County), C.Y. Lee (author of "Flower Drum Song), Anna May Wong, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Bruce Lee, famous Chinese pilots such as Frank Fong, award-winning James Wong Howe, Richard Loo & Bessie Loo, Philip Ahn, Him Mark Lai, Lisa See's great grandfather Fong See and others. If they knew each other, one can imagine the imaginative and visionary conversations they would have among themselves.

Acknowledging the vast influence of being able to exist in the political world in the capitol of California (Sacramento) and in the Chinese communities, one can only imagine Frank Fat’s considerable political influence in Sacramento played a strategic role of the Chinese communities' involvement during WWII - along with the Asian American communities that were being prosecuted (i.e. internment camps) - that was highlighted by Madame Chiang Kai-shek speaking to Congress – along with speaking at the Hollywood Bowl. It has been stated by Frank Fat's family that many of his articles have been archived at a local university that will document his underlying influences - along with the Chinese and American media coverage of his activities. It will be fascinating to await a visionary member of Frank Fat's extended family to fully embrace the history, as a provider of one's present good fortune and a model of how to succeed in the future - as these stories are not often told.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger became the latest to visit Frank Fat's, the oldest active restaurant in the Sacramento valley, when he lit the ceremonial firecrackers to usher in the Chinese New Year, number 4702.Frank died at age 93 in 1997, but his four sons (Wing, Ken, Tom and Jerry) and two daughters (Jean Ann and Mabel) carry on his tradition and are expanding the business.

WING KAI FAT: The No. 1 son of legendary restaurant founder Frank Fat - died of a stroke at age 79 on Feb. 25, 2005. Former Assembly Speaker Brown (who delivered one of the eulogies), a flamboyant Democrat whom non-Sacramento Republicans loved to hate, forged strong bipartisan relationships at Fat's.

Wing K. Fat, the humble immigrant who inherited Frank Fat's, the famous Sacramento restaurant where politicians sealed countless deals, died Friday just before 5:00 P.M. at the age of 79. The cause was related to a massive stroke he had suffered in his Arden Park home four days earlier.

In continuing his father's tradition - Fat made friends with the politicians, and was on a first name basis with virtually every major political figure in the state. He was active in the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation and a number of local charities. In addition to serving as president of the Fat Corporation, Fat was a founding board member of River City Bank and served as president of Channel 58, Inc., which owned KQCA television in the 1990s.


Their current Board of Directors include Karen Fong Cotton (President / Partner and Controller - Fong & Fong Printers and Lithographers), Rodney Kunisaki (Immediate Immediate Past-President / Owner/Businessman - Walsh Station Automotive Services), Don Lee (Vice-President / Customer Service Manager, Calvada Food Sales), Tony Lewis (Vice-President / Assistant Chief Counsel, Department of Health Care Services, State of California), Kathi Corrie (Secretary / Retired Systems Programmer, State of California), Anson Wong (Treasurer / Retired Operations Manager/Controller, Intel Corporation) Steven Chu (Pharmicist - Kaiser Permanant), Steve Hamamoto (Engineer, Department of General Services, State of California), Gordon Low (Retired - State of California), Marcia Matsuda (Business Owner - Matsuda's Garden Center), Dave Nubla (Owner/ Businessman - Nubla Transport), Julie Ota (Owner/Businesswoman - Jon's Home Furnishers and JKO Realty), Dr. Steve Seto (Project Committee Chairperson / Physician - Kaiser Permanente Hospital), Amy Wong (Retired - State of California), Kevin Wong (Financial Advisor, Linsco/Private Ledger) and Rodney Yung (Retired Engineering Associate - Water Resources, State of California).

Supporters include Asian Peace Officers Association (APOA), Asian Pacific State Employees Association (APSEA), Buddhist Church of Sacramento, California Teachers Association (CTA), Council of Asian Pacific Islanders Together for Active Leadership (C.A.P.I.T.A.L.), Chinese American Council of Sacramento (CACS), Chinese Community Church (CCC), Chinese Community Church Basketball Program, Carole Chong (Manager/Paralega @ Law Offices of Jerry L. Chong, chaired the CAPITAL Foundation Scholarship Committee in 2004, supported Asian Pacific Rim Fest/Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness/Research & Training (AANCART) and MSH Fun Run Committee), Confucius Church Physical Fitness Program, Health for All Director - Dr. Dick Ikeda, KXTV Channel 10, Sacramento Asian - Pacific Chamber of Commerce (SACC), Sacramento Chinese Food Dealers Association, Sacramento Barons Athletic Organization, Sacramento Japanese American Citizens' League (JACL), Sacramento Japanese United Methodist Church - Basketball Program (SJUMC), Sacramento Rebels Youth Organization, Sacramento Warlords Basketball Program, Angelo and Sofia Tsakopoulos, Eleni Tsakopoulos, President, AKT Development, Doris Matsui, U.S. Congresswoman, Matt Fong, Former State Treasurer, Jimmie Yee, County of Sacramento, Board of Supervisors, Former U.S. Marshall Jerry Enomoto & Dorothy Enomoto, Roger Fong, Former Sacramento County Assessor, Frank Fat Family, Fred Teichert - Teichert Foundation, Illa Collin - Former County of Sacramento, Board of Supervisors, Don Nottoli - County of Sacramento, Board of Supervisors, Mike Honda - U.S. Congressman, Michael Machado - California State Senator and Darrell Steinberg - California State Senator.

Each preseason the Maloofs (The Maloof Companies are a diversified group of business ventures including sport teams such as NBA's Sacramento Kings, hotels, casinos, banking, food and beverage, and transportation headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico and operated in California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado) donate $100,000 in proceeds from a selected Kings exhibition game to assist area capital improvement projects as a tribute to the family's late father and husband under the name of the George J. Maloof Sr. Community Cup. In the past, the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation was a recipient of the annual $100,000 gift that provided the opportunity to bring a Community Cultural and Youth Sports Center to South Sacramento.

In 1993, the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation was formed by the Chinese Community Church Basketball Program and the Warlord Basketball Program because of various government funding that was eliminated. It is a joint effort to provide a quality, organized and structured basketball program for Asian American youths. SASF has raised $2.3 million in donations, pledges, land and major in-kind services as of October 2003. The long term goal of the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation is to build a community sports gym for Asian youths. It is a community need and interest as evidenced by the numerous basketball teams sponsored by various churches, organizations and private individuals. The Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation recognizes the pursuit of a community sport gym will be a long and arduous campaign. The Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation is taking the first step and invites all those who believe in the same goal to join the quest for a community gym. In 1994, the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation (SASF) held its first basketball tournament fundraiser. Many people hope that the people running the Foundation will always be accessible to the general public, considering past and present problems


Introduced in 1999, the George J. Maloof Sr. Community Cup has resulted in more than $1 million in donations from the Maloof family to local charitable causes in the name of their father. The George J. Maloof Sr. Community Cup includes a $100,000 donation generated by proceeds from a Kings home preseason game.

In a continuing effort to make a positive and meaningful difference in the lives of families and young people in need in the Sacramento region, the Sacramento Kings and Maloof family chose to partner with the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation in 2001. The $100,000 George J. Maloof Sr. Community Cup donation helped the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation Buiulding Fund bring a Community Cultural and Youth Sports Center to South Sacramento.

he Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation (SASF) promotes and supports sports and cultural programs for children, youth and adults in Sacramento County to encourage and facilitate the development of good character, leadership, citizenship and sportmanshhip.

Presentation at a preseason game

Each George J. Maloof Sr. Community Cup recipient is honored in an on-court presentation at a Kings game. Those honored include prominent members of the recipient's board, foundation or organization.
Diversity and Involvement in the Asian Pacific Islander Community

Reaching out to diverse communities has always been very important to the Maloof family, and Sacramento continues to be one of the most diverse cities in the country as recognized by Time Magazine. Examples of Maloof Sports and Entertainment diversity outreach include Black History Month All-Stars in February and our annual Cesar Chavez Day of Volunteerism in March. We also celebrate diversity internally with the Maloof Sports & Entertainment Diversity Action Team. The Diversity Action team is committed to raising awareness of and showing appreciation for the unique differences of our Team Members and guests through education, communication and celebration.

Specific to the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community, Maloof Sports & Entertainment has participated in the following

Kings Chinese Cultural Nights/Kings Asian Pacific Islander (API) Cultural Nights: Chinese and Asian Pacific Islander cultures were celebrated at various Kings games. The events were also used to fundraise for local API charities in the Sacramento region. Local recipients of the Chinese Cultural and Asian Pacific Rim Foundation and the Asian Chamber of Commerce.

The Asian Pacific Rim Foundation's Street Fest - The festival displays the richness and diversity of many Pacific Rim cultures through cultural programs, entertainment, art and food. The event also enhances the community's knowledge of Asian Pacific Island cultures in a fund and positive environment.

The Sacramento Monarchs hosted the Chinese Women's National Basketball Team at an exhibition game in Sacramento in 2005. Chinese Nantional Team players Sui Feifei and Miao Li Jie were members of the Monarchs at the time.
The Sacramento Kings played Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets in an exhibition game in China in 2004
Maloof Sports & Entertainment is a member of the Sacramento Asian Chamber of Commerce
Kings Pilipino Heritage Night - A Kings group night and fundraising event for the local Pilipino community. Funds raised benefited local Pilipino charities and the famous Jabbawockeez performed at halftime.
Future Involvement
Reaching out to diverse communities in Sacramento, including the Asian Pacific Islander community, continues to be a priority for the organization
Special thanks is extended to Mitch Germann from providing the above-listed information that provided answers to questions that weren't available at other sources.

Picture of the entire Fat Family taken at Fran Fat's Restaurant approximately between January 2005 and May 2007 since Wing Fat died in January 2005 and Tom Fat died in May 2007.

Celebrating 70 Years of History and Success
On September 9, 2009 – a 70th Anniversary Party was held to celebrate when "people made relationships by talking face to face, not by e-mail, not by texting" and a chance to reflect back on an era when legislators tended to become bipartisan pals and pragmatic producers of good public policy that ended in 1974 when a Jerry Brown ballot initiative limited the pigeons' tabs to $10 per month -- "enough for two hamburgers and a Coke.” When that happened, the days of the “Pigeons” (what lobbyists were called during that era) paying for drinks and dinner was officially over that now see lobbyists routinely kicking in $2,500 at legislators' fundraisers.

The night celebrated a historic moment in 1939 (seventy years prior to the “party”) where a Chinese “illegal alien” immigrant endured discrimination to open a family owned and operated restaurant in a rundown former speakeasy two blocks from the state Capitol that advertised that it was "something different . . .” – hence fulfilling the ultimate American Dream that includes producing six college-educated children overseeing the business of five restaurants and a catering service. His success with attracting high-profiled American patrons, along with Chinese customers, provide tangible evidence of his ease to work in both communities through his ability to communicate effectively in English and Chinese/Cantonese - hence providing additional evidence of a fast-growing and influential bi-lingual Chinese Americans in the United States. The night will remember the various hallmarks of the original restaurant of Chinese and American dinners served in lovely, peaceful Oriental atmosphere by charming, beautiful and courteous Chinese waitresses that started during the Depression still exists today – outlasting other once-venerable capital fueling stations. "You give people good food, a nice place to eat it in and make them happy. Pretty simple, really," Frank Fat once explained.

Willie Brown and Frank Fat

The party will reflect of a time when it was embraced by the political crowd while becoming a fabled “home-away-from-home” for Capitol politicians, especially the state attorney general and future governor, Earl Warren, who regularly lunched there until he was appointed Supreme Court chief justice in 1953 because it has always has been liked and trusted by its constituents. It represented a time when people made relationships by talking face to face, not by e-mail, not by texting and an era where legislators tended to become bipartisan pals and pragmatic producers of good public policy – a political equivalent of campfire camaraderie. "Fat's was the place where everything happened," recalls former Senate Republican Leader Bill Campbell. "We really solved all the world's problems. It was a much more pleasant Legislature back then. People got to know each other. We could sit down and disagree and have a friendly argument." Things have changed -- not just because of political reform, but because term limits have made legislators more competitive and left them without enough time to develop solid relationships. Plus, drunk-driving laws discourage bar-hopping. This environment provided the appropriate setting for many political deals being consummated, with the most famous being the 1987 Tort Reform "Napkin deal."

Tort-Mania 1987 Napkin Deal

The history behind this “deal” started at Willie Brown's private cloakroom in the Capitol and culminated on September 10, 1987 at Fat’s Restaurant with lobbyists for various “special interests” such as trial lawyers, insurers, business, doctors, manufacturers and tobacco convened at Fat's one summer evening to negotiate the final piece of a product-liability bill to provide “the most sweeping changes in California’s civil liability laws in decades” that had been fought over for months that the final ratifications were resolved when Speaker Brown came in late and forced a settlement that resulted in a time of celebration at the restaurant’s private upstairs room of the ratification of a future “peace pact” among all the concerned parties to abide by the compromise.

At that time - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Bill Lockyer, now the state treasurer, joined the group and suggested that the warring interests agree to a five-year peace pact. Great idea, they said. Lockyer scribbled the pact on a linen napkin and the lobbyists signed it – though it might be another example of Willie Brown’s sense of showmanship. The bill passed the Assembly and State Senate on the last night of that year’s legislative session and was signed into law by Republican Governor George Deukmejian. A preproduction of the original napkin can be seen on a poster titled “Tort-Mania 1987” located at Fat’s Restaurant. It was an excellent example when (as Lockyer stated “when these groups are trying to mend rther than tear the fabric of society.”) It was Willie Brown’s proudest accomplishment and the “hallmark” for that session since it represented the completion of a goal of bringing peace to the seeminging insoluble battle over liability laws. The stark contrasts were made even more evident when this party takes place on the day where President Obama’s speech on his broad healthcare goals made clear the divisive nature of politics between the Democratic and Republican Parties and even among its own respective parties.

In the back row, from left to right is Tom, Wing, Ken and Jerry.
In the front row, from left to right is Mable, Mary, Frank and Jean.

The 70th Anniversary Party was a fundraising event for Sacramento Crisis Nurseries (which helps to prevent child abuse and neglect by supporting families during times of extreme stress and providing safe havens for their babies and children / 916-441-4184 or visiting and be filled with countless stories of political deals that were made in the dimly lit restaurant and the late Houston Flournoy's decision to run for governor in 1974 during a poker game in the restaurant's upstairs private dining room.

Given that in 1984, the party that celebrated Frank Fat’s 80th birthday with 8,000+ people was so successful that the L.A. Times stated was one of the biggest party that year, the night definitely carried on the tradition with all the prominent people that were in attendance. It will be interesting to see if Frank Fat's extended family will embrace the future as role models, torch bearers, visionary leaders and influential pioneers to bring a greater good and future to the Chinese/Asian American communities that other families like the Kennedys have done in the past, or will they be a family primarily interested in just profits (like the Chandlers, the past owners of the L.A. Times).

That night festivities featured various highlights such as the grand opening advertisement featuring a portrait of Frank Fat's cheerful smile with the words, "Frank Fat Presents to Sacramento and Vicinity / Something Different. Beautiful. Refreshing. Delightful." It will celebrate the restaurant’s ongoing status as the most popular Chinese-American restaurant among not only the Capitol crowd, but also with families, business executives, world travelers and entertainment and sports personalities.

The event provided the opportunity for Frank’s family members to share that they will be continuing his reputation – as described in the comments "My father knew how to provide great food and excellent service, and he had an instinct for good business," said Jerry Fat, president of Fat's restaurants and Frank Fat's youngest son. "He was well known for his joyful persona, humbleness and genuine interest in people. In the end, Frank Fat's restaurants and reputation survives, even if the pragmatic politics it nourished for decades has regretfully perished.




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