API History at Stanford and beyond

A timeline to share the API history at Stanford and how it's history intertwines with API history as a whole in the US.

An introduction to the rich history of the API Community at Stanford. We have four categories: Okada Resident Fellows, Okada History, API History at Stanford, and API History in the US. Please use the settings/wrench button in the right-hand corner to play around with the view type, zoom level, and spacing, and feel free to follow the links to learn more about each event.;xNLx;;xNLx;*Special thanks to Mark Flores, Annie Phan, and Co Tran: the 2015-16 Okada Ethnic Theme Associates

1849-06-01 00:00:00

Influx of Chinese Workers

Thousands of Chinese men, primarily from the Guangdong Province, flocked to the American West to work in laundries, mines, and railroads. Viewed as hardworking but alien Others, they faced systemic racism and harsh labor conditions.

1882-01-01 00:00:00

Chinese Exclusion Act

This law limited Chinese labor immigration for ten years. It was the first law of its kind to target a specific ethnic group and was not repealed until 1943 for political advantage during World War II.

1891-01-01 03:35:23

First Students of Asian Descent attend Stanford

Students of Asian descent attend Stanford as part of pioneer class at Stanford. Demographically, they were 7 of 555, or 1.2% of the class.

1902-05-31 12:07:10

Japanese Students Association Founded

With an enrollment of 30 students, the Japanese Students Association formed to build a supportive community for Japanese nationals and US born students of Japanese decent.

1910-05-31 12:07:10

Chinese Students Association Founded

Chinese students both American born and from China gathered together to support each other at Stanford.

1913-01-01 03:35:23

First Professor of Asian Descent Hired

Professor Yamato Ichihashi began teaching in the History department. He is eventually appointed Associate Professor and is believed to be the first person of Asian descent to have held an endowed chair position at an American university.

1916-01-01 00:00:00

Racial Tensions in Campus Housing

A student of Chinese descent was physically thrown out of the residences at Encina Hall by white male students. This action prompted the Chinese and Japanese communities at Stanford to raise funds to establish residences on campus for their students in 1919 and 1916 respectively.

1942-01-01 00:00:00

Students & Faculty of Japanese Descent Sent to Internment Camps

President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the wartime internment of 120,000 U.S. citizens and residents of Japanese ancestry. At the time 24 students with Japanese surnames were enrolled at Stanford and were forced to leave along with Professor Yamato Ichihashi and wife Kei who remained in the camps until the end of the war.

1942-02-19 00:00:00

Japanese Internment

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, ordering the removal of Japanese immigrants and their descendants en masse to relocation camps for the duration of the war. On December 27, 1944, the U.S. War Department ended the internment of Japanese Americans. However, the last camp did not close until March 20, 1946, and the government did not admit wrongdoing or pay reparations until 1987.

1954-01-01 00:00:00

Southeast Asian Diaspora

In the context of Cold War fears, the US intervened in the conflict in Vietnam. Their actions exacerbated conflict and led to millions of deaths, environmental destruction, and economic ruin North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The US also secretly allied with Hmong communities with promises that they would be evacuated if the Vietnam War was lost, but did not remain true to their word. This sparked the mass Southeast Asian immigration to the United States after the the South Vietnamese forces surrendered on April 30, 1975.

1962-01-01 00:00:00

First Asian-American Senator and Congressman

Daniel K. Inouye becomes U.S. senator and Spark Matsunaga becomes U.S. congressman from Hawaii.

1963-01-01 00:00:00

API + Black Solidarity

Yuri Kochiyama was a civil rights activist who befriended Malcolm X in 1963. They continued to learn and grow together until his death in 1965. On that night, she was famously photographed cradling his head as he lay dying from a gunshot wound. Though this timeline shows the end of this event at his death, API+Black solidarity is remains a powerful force into the present day.

1964-01-01 00:00:00

First Asian-American Congresswoman

Patsy Takemoto Mink becomes first Asian American woman to serve in Congress as representative from Hawaii.

1965-09-08 00:00:00

Filipino Labor Strikes

Filipino American workers organized a strike against California grape growers’ unfair labor practices. Cesar Chavez joined forces with them. By 1970, they won the right to unionize and had access to better pay.

1966-01-01 00:00:00

Richard Aoki and the Black Panthers

Recognizing the interconnectedness of the Asian-American and Black struggle against police brutality and economic repression, Richard Aoki and other Asian Americans joined the Black Panthers Party. He was the only Asian American, however, to reach leadership within the organization. Recently released documents show that he also worked as an FBI informant, however.

1966-01-01 00:00:00

The Term "Model Minority"

The term “model minority” was first coined in 1966 to explain the “success” of Asian Americans compared to other communities of color. However, this erases the diversity of the many groups that compose the larger API community. Additionally, it makes the API community a buffer between white dominant society and other communities of color. Ronald Reagan later used this idea to distract from and rationalize his cuts to welfare programs. The struggle continues to turn this myth into a mutiny-- one of strength, of love, and of resistance.

1968-01-01 00:00:00

The Term “Asian American”

UCLA professor Yuji Ichioka coined the term “Asian American” as a way to unify various ethnic groups and center them around a politicized name, instead of using terms like “Oriental” and “Celestial” that have traditionally been used to degrade Asian American communities.

1968-01-01 00:00:00

International Hotel Campaign

The I-Hotel provided affordable housing to Filipino and other API workers, as well as a vibrant community. Gentrification threatened their home. Though the building was eventually demolished, the campaign served a rallying point for a rising pan-Asian generation of activists.

1968-01-01 00:00:00

Establishment of Ethnic Studies

Students strike at San Francisco State University to demand the establishment of ethnic studies programs. The following year, in 1969, they are joined by UC Berkeley students. Stanford joins the fight with the Takeover of '89, and the struggle continues into the present day.

1969-01-01 00:00:00

Asian American Student Alliance Formed

AASA ( (later known as the Asian American Students' Association) was formed to help Asian Americans meet and understand more about each other through social and cultural programs and to bring attention to Asian American student needs on campus.

1971-01-01 00:00:00

The first Asian American Studies Course

Gordon Chang, a then-graduate student in History, teaches the first Asian American Studies course offered under the student led Stanford Workshops on Political and Social Issues (SWOPSI).

1971-04-12 10:58:43

Asian American Theme House Established

Nelson Dong, Dan Kojiro, and others petition for an Asian American theme dorm in order to create a safe space for Asian American students on campus. Harumi Befu, professor of Anthropology, resides as the first Resident Fellow of Junipero. Click on the link to hear Nelson Dong's Oral History interview about how he wrote a memo advocating for a safe residential space for Asian American students on campus.

1971-05-16 06:13:43

People's Teahouse Opens

Replacing a local cafe, The People's Teahouse opens as a late-night eatery. Okada residents often worked shifts and were very involved in the maintenance of the teahouse, which sold Asian snacks such as bao, potstickers, and more.

1971-09-12 10:58:43

Harumi Befu

Harumi Befu is Okada's first Resident Fellow.

1974-04-17 22:41:53

Theme Associate Program Begins

The ethnic theme associate program begins at Okada, with six theme associates chosen by a student-faculty committee. These associates were not compensated and acted like today's priority residents in supporting programming in alignment with the ethnic theme. Okada was where the ethnic theme associate program first began.

1975-05-01 22:27:39

First Wave of Hmong Refugees to the U.S.

Following the imminent communist control of Laos, the U.S. CIA helped airlift nearly 3,500 Hmong refugees to the United States. This first wave of Hmong refugees consisted of higher ranking Hmong military personnel and their families.

1977-01-01 00:00:00

Asian American Activities Center Established

Asian American Activities Center is located at the Old Fire Truck House and staffed entirely by volunteer student interns.

1979-03-02 10:58:43

David Henry Hwang puts on FOB in Okada

David Henry Hwang presents his senior play FOB with the Asian American Theater Project in Okada. The play eventually establishes Hwang as one of the first Asian American playwrights to receive major recognition.

1979-09-30 21:12:00

Cal Lai

Cal Lai acts as Okada's Resident Fellow.

1979-11-30 00:00:00

Renaming to Okada

Residents of Junipero House, the Asian American Theme dorm, after five years of conversation, vote to rename the house to Okada, which beat out other contenders such as Pacifica, Shizunami, Amerasia, and East Winds,

1982-04-01 13:18:08

Okada sponsors Extravaganza

For Asian Heritage Week, Okada sponsored Extravaganza, an outdoor festival featuring lion dances, martial arts, and other aspects of Asian culture.

1982-06-19 00:00:00

Murder of Vincent Chin

Vincent Chin was a Chinese-American who was brutally beaten by two Detroit residents. He died from his wounds, but his attackers were only charged with manslaughter and three years in prison. The murder was likely racially motivated and sparked a pan-Asian American movement.

1984-09-30 21:12:00

Dan and Nancy Okimoto

Dan and Nancy Okimoto serve as Okada's Resident Fellows for four years. Dan Okimoto goes on to chair the ad hoc committee to advise for the creation of Asian American Studies at Stanford.

1986-01-01 00:00:00

Admissions Policy Questioned

Academic Senate Committee conducts a study of Asian American admissions. The committee finds that "unconscious bias" caused the discrepancy in admissions rates and immediately following the report, admissions rates for Asian American students increased to 89 percent of the white admission rate.

1987-01-01 00:00:00

Rainbow Agenda & Institutionalizing the Community Centers

Students form the Rainbow Agenda (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.

1988-05-31 12:07:10

Founding of Many API Student Organizations

As the Asian American student population grows, new student organizations representing the breath of diversity within the community flourish. Chinese Folk Dance, Stanford University Nikkei, Stanford Vietnamese Association, Stanford Wushu, Hong Kong Student Association, Korean Students Association, Pilipino American Students Association, Stanford "K"lub of India (Sanskriti), the Thai-American Intercultural Society, and the Undergraduate Chinese American Association were all founded during this time.

1988-09-30 02:26:55

Michael and Barbara Chang

Formerly Resident Fellows at EAST House when it was focused on an East Asian theme, Michael and Barbara Chang were RFs for two years. During this time Michael was the China Project coordinator in SPICE (Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education)

1989-01-01 00:00:00

Takeover of the President's Office

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".

1989-01-01 00:00:00

Asian American Activities Center Institutionalized with First Full Time Director

The Asian American Activities center is institutionalized through funding from the Dean of Student Affairs which enables the hiring of the first full time director Rick Yuen.

1989-09-30 02:26:55

Jack Chin

Jack Chin acts as Okada RF for one year, and was also the Residence Dean and Summer Residence Director in this time.

1990-01-01 00:00:00

Asian American Studies Courses offered

rofessors Gordon Chang and David Palumbo-Liu are the first to be appointed as tenure-track Asian American Studies scholars. The following year, Asian American Studies scholars offer a core curriculum consisting of five Asian American Studies courses, as a result of collaborative efforts of Professors Chang, Palumbo-Liu, Sylvia Yanagisako , and Bill Hing.

1990-09-30 08:07:58

Virginia Mak and Ed Iwata

Virginia Mak at the Career Planning & Placement Center and her husband Edward Iwata, Journalist & Editor at Stanford live as the Okada RFs

1991-01-01 00:00:00

Asian American Activities Center Professional Staff Increases to Two Full Time Positions

Cindy Ng is hired as the second full time professional staff member at the Asian American Activities Center starting as a Program Coordinator.

1991-02-06 12:08:18

Teahouse closes due to safety violations

After years of activity, the teahouse closes because it is finally inspected and found not to meet state regulations for selling food.

1991-09-14 23:08:57

More API Student Groups Founded

Asian American student groups continue to grow in number, adding performing arts and greek organizations including Stanford Taiko, Lambda Phi Epsilon, alpha Kappa Delta Phi, Project AYIME, Stanford Hwimori, Newtype Anime club, Singaporeans at Stanford, Indonesian Club at Stanford, and the Asian American Sib Program.

1992-04-29 00:00:00

Rodney King Los Angeles Riots

Four Los Angeles police officers were acquitted of brutally beating Black motorist Rodney King. This injustice sparked the LA riots. Police protected wealthy, predominantly white neighborhoods, while leaving the inner city to devolve into violence. The media focused on the ensuing conflict between the Black and Korean communities—in a clear attempt to distract from the structural roots of and police complicity in the riots.

1992-05-12 05:46:14

Okada and Ethnic Theme Houses respond to Rodney King Riots

Jeff Chen, Okada ETA, writes an opinion piece for the Stanford Daily expressing that the ethnic theme dorms condemn police brutality and stand in solidarity with communities of color.

1993-04-16 11:42:49

Okada moves from Junipero to Madera

Okada moves from the residence currently known as Junipero to what was formerly known as Madera House so that it could be wheelchair accessible and allow both dorms better gender distribution.

1994-01-01 00:00:00

Four Chicano students go on hunger strike 1994

Students from AASA (along with BSU and SAIO) join hunger strikers demand reinstatement of a senior Chicana administrator, the establishment of a Chicano Studies program and a grape boycott on campus.

1994-01-01 00:00:00

Alternative Spring Break

The first Asian American focused ASB trips "Asian American Issues: From Identity to Action" and "The Challenge of Identity: The Filipino-American in California" were created to introduce students to the needs of various communities through direct service, experiential learning, discussion, and reflection.

API History at Stanford and beyond

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