Advocacy highlights


Formation of earliest Asian American organizations at Stanford

The first Asian American student organizations were formed on campus at the turn of the century starting with the establishment of the Japanese Students Association in 1901, followed by the Stanford Chinese Club in 1910. Both organizations successfully fundraised and built their respective clubhouses: the Japanese Clubhouse, located on Santa Ynez Street, was built in 1916; the Chinese Clubhouse was constructed on Salvatierra in 1919.

Japanese Clubhouse, 1916
Japanese Clubhouse, 1916
Chinese Students Club, 1922

Alumnus Yamato Ichihashi hired as Stanford's first professor of Asian descent in 1913

Yamato Ichihashi, born in Japan, came to the United States and received his A.B. in Economics from Stanford in 1907, A.M. in 1908, and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1914. He returned to Stanford in 1913 to become Professor of Japanese History and Government. His special interests included studies of Japanese in America and relations between Japan and the United States.

After Pearl Harbor and the passage of Executive Order 9066, Dr. Ichihashi and his family, along with 24 Stanford students and approximately 120,000 others of Japanese ancestry, were forcibly removed from their homes and incarcerated in camps located in the interior of the country. Following the end of World WarII, Ichihashi and his wife returned to Stanford. (Yamato Ichihashi papers, SC0071)

For additional information, please read Morning glory, evening shadow : Yamato Ichihashi and his internment writings, 1942-1945 by Gordon H. Chang, available at Stanford Libraries.

Yamato Ichihashi
Yamato Ichihashi
Ichihashi, Yamato
Ichihashi, Yamato

Frank Y. Chuck, student activist and President of the Western Section of the Chinese Student Alliance

Frank Y. Chuck, born Faw Yap Chuck, received three degrees in Chemistry from Stanford University: a Bachelor of Arts in 1922, a Degree of Engineer in 1923, and a Doctor of Philosophy in 1925.

In 1923, he was elected president of the Western Section of the Chinese Student Alliance, a national organization, and served in this role through 1924. As president, he convened an annual regional conference held at Stanford for all Chinese students studying at American universities west of Chicago.

During his time at Stanford, he was actively involved with the Chinese Students Club and, after witnessing an instance of prejudice in which a Chinese student was physically thrown out of the Encina Hall dormitory due to his race, assisted with the successful fundraising efforts for the Stanford Chinese Clubhouse, which became the campus residence for students of Chinese descent.

Frank Y. Chuck, Stanford University, undated
Frank Y. Chuck, Stanford University, undated
Frank Y. Chuck, Stanford University, undated
Frank Y. Chuck, Stanford University, undated

Well, there was a Chinese student got a room in Encina Hall. When the evening came and the other students came back from their classes they said, "Hey, how come there is a Chinaman here?" (They called him a Chink.) "Hey, we don't want any Chink here." So a bunch of people got together, they were discussing the whole thing, so then some of the guys suggested: "Let's throw him out. It is simple enough." And they did, they just threw him out. Took his belongings and everything. Throw away. He kept calling (he knew a couple of Chinese students) and a couple of Chinese students came by and picked him up. And then they had a meeting in Palo Alto and talked to a few Chinese merchants over there. The City Cafe, I remember, was a big supporter. They were doing quite a good business there. It was, what do you call it, in the Leung family. And they said, "O.K., we will furnish you a place, a room upstairs, for a little meeting." - Frank Y. Chuck

Frank Y. Chuck oral history, Stanford (Calif.), May 1981

Asian American women, 1970s

Asian American women were becoming more aware of the broader feminist movements happening locally and nationally, and leading and contributing to those movements in a variety of ways. The student journal Asian American Women launched in 1976.

Asian American women. 1976-05
Asian American women. 1976-05
Asian American women : a journal celebrating our heritage. 1989-05
Asian American women : a journal celebrating our heritage. 1989-05
Asian American Theatre Project art series: Unbound Feet
Asian American Theatre Project art series: Unbound Feet

Asian American Student Activism, 1971-1976

The Asian American Student Alliance (later known as the Asian American Students' Association) forms in 1969 to help Asian American students connect through social and cultural programs and to bring attention to Asian American student needs on campus. Junipero House is founded as the Asian American Theme Dorm to foster Asian American ethnic and cultural understanding within a residential setting. Anthropology Professor Harumi Befu is the first Resident fellow. The Asian American Resource Center is housed in Junipero until space becomes available in the Firetruck house in 1977.

Stanford Asian Students Coordinating Committee constitution and by-laws
Stanford Asian Students Coordinating Committee constitution and by-laws
AASA constitution
AASA constitution
Proposal for Asian American ethnic studies program
Proposal for Asian American ethnic studies program

The Rainbow Agenda and takeover of President Kennedy's Office in May 1989

Rainbow Agenda: an agenda for student needs
Rainbow Agenda: an agenda for student needs

The Rainbow Agenda, a coalition of various ethnic student groups, including AASA, MEChA, SAIO, BSU), propose a set of demands including the institutionalization of the Asian American Activities Center and the hiring of a full time Director/Dean. In response to the demands of the student-led Rainbow Agenda of 1987, the President and Provost form the University Committee on Minority Issues. The UCMI report outlines recommendations for: diversifying curriculum; minority faculty recruitment, retention & promotion; student admissions and financial aid; student life; and staff recruitment, retention & promotion. Students take over President Donald Kennedy's office with a list of 120 demands including Asian American Studies at Stanford, chanting, "JUST ONE ASIAN AMERICAN HISTORY PROFESSOR!" Kennedy releases a statement to the press saying "We confirm that many minority issues and concerns are not the special pleadings of interest groups but are Stanford issues--ones that should engage all of us" and states goal to hire 30 minority faculty in the following decade.

Immediate demands from the Rainbow Agenda, 1987
Immediate demands from the Rainbow Agenda, 1987

Research and Reflections on Asian American History at Stanford

This digitized clip shows Professor Gordon Chang discussing his research into the history of Asian Americans in the 20th century with the Stanford News Service in 1996. This episode showcases Chang's book, Morning Glory, Evening Shadow, at once a biography of one of the first academics of Asian heritage to teach in the United States and an archive of written material related to Ichihashi's years of forced incarceration during World War II.