Asian American history

Asian American history

Asian American history is the history of an ethnic and racial groups in the United States who are immigrants or descendants of persons from the continent of Asia.

Asian Americans

Asian American history is the history of individual ethnic groups, and also the common history of groups often affected by the same laws and a culture that often saw them as one racial group. Since the late 1960s and 1970s, many activists and academics referred to an "Asian American movement" similar to the civil rights movement to refer to efforts across different Asian groups to promote their common welfare.

In the latter 20th century, spurred by the 1965 Immigration Act, Asians from many different groups immigrated in larger numbers, often arriving as college students, or skilled workers with degrees. Their image of success was portrayed with headlines of the "Model Minority".


* 1763, Filipinos established the small settlement of Saint Malo in the bayous of current-day Louisiana, after fleeing mistreatment aboard Spanish ships. Since there were no Filipino women with them, the Manilamen, as they were known, married Cajun and Native American women.

* 1778, Chinese sailors first came to Hawaii, the same year that Captain James Cook came upon the island. Many settled and married Hawaiian women.

* 1820, Chinese (mostly merchants, sailors, and students) begin to immigrate after advent of the Sino-U.S. maritime trade.

* 1841, June 27 Captain Whitfield, commanding a New England sailing vessel, rescues five shipwrecked Japanese sailors. Four disembark at Honolulu, however Manjiro Nakahama stays on board returning with Whitfield to Fairhaven, Massachusetts. After attending school in New England and adopting the name John Manjiro, he later became an interpreter for Commodore Matthew Perry.

* 1850, seventeen survivors of a Japanese shipwreck were saved by the American freighter "Auckland". In 1852, the group was sent to Macau to join Commodore Matthew Perry as a gesture to help open diplomatic relations with Japan. One of them, Joseph Heco (Hikozo Hamada) went on to become a naturalized US citizen.

* 1854, the California Supreme Court case ruled that the testimony of a Chinese man who witnessed a murder by a white man was inadmissible.cite web | title=Banana: A Chinese American Experience|url=| accessdate=2008-05-08]

* 1861 The utopian minister Thomas Lake Harris of the Brotherhood of the New Life visits England, where he meets Nagasawa Kanaye, who becomes a convert. Nagasawa returns to the US with Harris and follows him to Fountaingrove in Santa Rosa, California. When Harris leaves the Californian commune, Nagasawa became the leader and remained there until his death in 1932.

* 1862, California passed a "police tax" of $2.50 a month on every Chinese

* 1865, The Central Pacific Railroad Co. recruited Chinese workers for the transcontinental railroad when they could not find sufficient numbers of Irish workers. Many died in the harsh conditions blasting through difficult mountain terrain.

* 1869, A group of Japanese people arrive at Gold Hills, California and build the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony. Okei becomes the first recorded Japanese woman to die and be buried in the US.

* 1878, Chinese are ruled ineligible for naturalized citizenship.

* 1882, Chinese Exclusion Act is passed banning immigration from China.

* 1887, The brutal 2-day massacre of 31 Chinese miners in Snake River, Oregon which was not discovered until 1995.

* 1890, First wave of Japanese immigrants to provide labor in Hawaiokinai sugarcane and pineapple plantations, California fruit and produce farms

* 1893 The San Francisco Education Board attempts to introduce segregation, but withdraws following protests by the Japanese government.

* 1902, Yone Noguchi publishes the "The American Diary of a Japanese Girl".

* 1903 Ahn Chang Ho, pen name Dosan, founded the Friendship Society in 1903 and the Mutual Assistant Society.

* 1904, Seungman Rhee (이승만), comes to the United States and earns a Bachelors at George Washington University and a Ph.D from Princeton University. In 1910, he returned to Korea and became a political activist during Japanese occupation of Korea. He later became the first president of South Korea.

* 1907, Gentlemen's Agreement between United States and Japan that Japan would stop issuing passports for new laborers

* 1910, Angel Island opens as a major immigration station for as many as 175,000 Chinese and 60,000 Japanese immigrants between 1910 and 1940.

* 1913, California Alien Land Law of 1913 ban Japanese from purchasing land; whites threatened by Japanese success in independent farming ventures

* 1918, Bhagat Singh Thind first Asian to be recruited by US Army

* 1924, United States Immigration Act of 1924 (Oriental Exclusion Act) banned most immigration from Asia.

* 1930, Anti-Filipino riot occurred in Watsonville, California.

* 1933, Filipinos are ruled ineligible for citizenship barring immigration.

* 1935, Tydings-McDuffie Act gives "Commonwealth" status to the Philippines hence allowing immigration of Filipinos.

* 1941, Japan air force attacked Honolulu; U.S. federal government arrest Japanese community leaders.

* 1942, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066 on February 19, uprooting Asian Americans of Japanese descent on the west coast to be sent to Internment camps.

* 1943, Japanese soldiers from Hawaiokinai join the U.S. Army 100th Battalion arrive in Europe

* 1944, U.S. Army 100th Battalion merges with the all-volunteer Asian Americans of Japanese descent 442nd Regimental Combat Team

* 1945, 442nd Regimental Combat team awarded 18,143 decorations including 9,486 Purple Heart decorations becoming the highest decorated military unit in United States history

* 1957, Dalip Singh Saund first Asian to be elected for Congress

* 1963, Daniel K. Inouye elected for the US Senate

* 1965, Patsy T. Mink becomes the first woman of color in Congress

* 1971, Norman Y. Mineta elected mayor of San Jose, California; becomes first Asian American mayor of a major US city; Herbert Choy nominated supreme court justice.

* 1974, George R. Ariyoshi elected governor in the State of Hawaiokinai

* 1976, Samuel Ichiye (S. I.) Hayakawa of California and Spark Matsunaga of Hawaiokinai elected as US Senators

* 1978, Ellison S. Onizuka becomes the first Asian American astronaut

* 1980, Congress creates Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians to investigate World War II unjust policies against Japanese Americans.

* 1982, Vincent Chin accused of being a Japanese who were blamed for the loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States and subsequently beaten to death.

* 1983, Commission reports Japanese American internment was not a national security necessity.

* 1988, U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs Civil Liberties Act of 1988 apologizing for Japanese American internment and provide reparations of $20,000 to each victim

*1992, Hae Jong Kim elected Bishop of United Methodist Church; Paull Shin elected for Washington State Senate;LA Riots of April 1992.

* 1994, Mazie K. Hirono elected state lieutenant governor.

* 1999, Gen. Eric Shinseki becomes the first Asian American U.S. military chief of staff.

* 2000, Norman Y. Mineta becomes the first Asian American appointed to the U.S. Cabinet; worked as Commerce Secretary (2000-2001), Transportation Secretary (2001-2006).


In many ways, Asian American identity is an emerging consciousness which will take time and much dialogue. It does not help that ethnic classification on government sanctioned, public forms systematically separate Asian-Americans into their ethnic origins (e.g., Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Southeast Asian, etc.). One would wonder what the public response would be if the forms equally included German, Irish, English, French, etc. for those of European descent or Ghanan, Kenyan, Sudanese, etc. for those of African descent. There have been significant requests by supporters of the Asian-American Movement to legitimize 'Asian-American' as a bona-fide subcategory much like other minorities (e.g., African-American, Hispanic/Latin-American, and Native-American).

It is not easy to pin-point why Asian-Americans of various ethnic descent insist on being identified with their native countries. The cause of such ethnic-conservatism may be coming from the "first generation" Asian immigrants who are unknowingly preventing cultural solidarity for later generations by "importing" stories of ethnic controversies (or to put it more harshly - perpetuating ethnic hatred) which are inherently antagonistic to the project of building up an Asian-American cultural identity. They do not realize that their later generations would prefer to see themselves as Asian-Americans rather than identify with their native countries for various reasons (political, psychological, sociological, etc.). Asian-Americans have their own stories of conflicts and resolutions which are completely different from the set of stories told in their native countries and the first generation immigrants of Asian descent must recognize this reality if they want their later generations to contribute to society as free American citizens. Another barrier to Asian-American consciousness may be from a linguistic point-of-view, a natural barrier which will take time as later generations become primarily an English-speaking community.

The development of Asian-American consciousness is an inevitable process resulting from shared experiences as the excluded "yellow people" of North America. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Watsonville Riot of 1929, the Japanese American Internment of 1942, the Vincent Chin incident of 1982, the LA Riots of 1992, as well as the Virginia Tech Massacre are all tragedies the Asian-American of various ethnic origins share in their continuing struggle for equality, freedom, and pursuit of happiness. There is a growing Asian American presence in the media (e.g., music, literature, movies, politics, theology, sociology, etc.) which seems to be in many ways similar to the Black Power movement which occurred during and after the Civil Rights Movement.

ee also

* Asian American Immigration History
* Asian Americans
* Chinese Americans
* Japanese Americans
* Korean Americans


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Asian American — Asian American …   Wikipedia

  • Asian American studies — is an academic discipline which studies the experience of people of Asian ancestry in America. Closely related to other Ethnic Studies disciplines such as African American Studies, Latino/a Studies, and Native American Studies, Asian American… …   Wikipedia

  • Asian American theatre — Background Asian American theatre emerged in the 1960s and the 1970s with the foundation of four theatre companies: East West Players in Los Angeles, Asian American Theatre Workshop (later renamed Asian American Theatre Company) in San Francisco …   Wikipedia

  • Asian American Dance Theatre — (AADT) was a not for profit community arts organization based in the New York Chinatown from 1974 to 1993. As one of the oldest Asian American community organizations, AADT was notable for its early development and pioneer promotion of… …   Wikipedia

  • Asian American Writers' Workshop — Established in 1991, The Asian American Writers Workshop, Inc., is a nonprofit literary arts organization founded in support of writers, literature and community.Operating out of our 6,000 square foot loft, we sponsor readings, book parties and… …   Wikipedia

  • History of Asian American immigration — This page lists the summary of congressional acts and judicial rulings affecting immigration and naturalization of Asian Americans.Congressional pacts* 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act Cessation of immigration from China. [… …   Wikipedia

  • Asian American Arts Centre — The Asian American Arts Centre (AAAC) is a non profit organization located in Chinatown in New York City. Founded in 1974, it was one of the early Asian American community organizations in the United States. The Arts Centre presents the ongoing… …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese American history — is the history of Chinese Americans or the history of ethnic Chinese in the United States. Chinese immigration to the U.S. consisted of three major waves, with the first beginning in the 19th century. Chinese immigrants in the 19th century worked …   Wikipedia

  • Japanese American history — Japanese people s migration to the Americas started with migration to Hawaii in the first year of the Meiji era in 1868. The total of the migrant population is about 1 million.About 750,000 people emigrated before World War II, and about 250,000… …   Wikipedia

  • Indian American history — This is a placeholder for chronicling the saga of Indians settled in the United States (and to a lesser extent, the history of Indians in Canada). For contemporary information, please see the Indian American page. For all pages relating to Indian …   Wikipedia