Born in 1898, Chinese American pioneer You Chung Hong argued some 7,300 cases on behalf of Chinese immigrants seeking to enter the United States.
A new exhibition based on his collections of papers, photographs and letters is at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino near Los Angeles through March 21, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Hong is also credited with building Los Angeles’ Chinatown.
“Building the new Chinatown to include other people, not just Chinese, was part of the goal,” said exhibition curator Li Wei Yang. “Hong’s life was about inclusion — bringing people past the national border and having Chinese become part of the mainstream American society.”
Hong also fought to loosen immigration laws to allow Chinese men to bring over their wives and children.
Perhaps appealing to the racists of his era, Hong “pointed out that `the [Chinese] men in America need to be married, and interracial marriage is not something anyone wants.’ He had to appeal to [elected officials’] racism to urge them to keep this channel open,” said Yang.
You can read about Hong’s remarkable life and advocacy work in the Los Angeles Times.