Ah Soon – Merchant/broker to Laborer 1913-1915

This is a continuation of Ah Soon’s 1899-1907 file posted on the blog on 27 April 2023

Quick summary of the earlier post:
Ah Soon’s file starts in 1899, when as a cook (laborer) living in Helena, Montana, he is applying to visit China. He returns in 1900. In 1907 he was a merchant living in Seattle working for Ah King Company. He visited China again in 1907 and returned in 1909.

There is no activity in Ah Soon’s file from 1909 to February 1913.

28 Feb 1913
Ah Soon applied to travel aboard under the provisions of Rule 15 of the Regulations of the Department of Commerce and Labor with the status of a domiciled broker. He had merchant status and claimed that he owned 2,000 shares of the Canton Province Mining Company in Seattle.

Ah Soon, Form 431, Application of Lawfully Domiciled Chinese Merchant, Teacher, or Student, for Preinvestigation of Status, 28 Feb 1913, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, Record Group 85, NARA-Seattle, Ah Soon file, Seattle RS Box 219, RS30384.

3 March 1913
White witness, George F. Ober, a thirty-nine-year-old mining engineer in Seattle, testified that he had lived in Seattle for over three years. He knew Ah Soon was a merchant and real estate broker who bought and sold restaurants and laundries. Soon worked with Wong Shin How at a curio exhibit for an Ah King concern at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in Seattle in1909. Ah Soon was a stockholder in the Canton Province Mining Company and sold shares of the company on commission. The Mining Investment officers and trustees were President: Ah King; Vice President: Thomas W. Snaith; Secretary and Treasurer: George F. Ober; Trustee L.L. Thorp; Managers: Yee Onlai, Assistant Secretary: Louie Kee.

Ah Soon, “Mining Investment,” CEA case files, RG 85, NARA-Seattle, RS Box 219, RS30384.

Joseph H. Beaven, another white witness, stated that he was fifty-four years old and a superintendent of Baptist mission work. He had known Ah Soon about twenty years. Ah Soon was employed and a stockholder at the Ah King Company. About twenty years ago Ah Soon was a cook at a restaurant in Spokane but presently had an interest in his brother’s store, the Ah King Company.

Later that day, Ah Soon testified that he had misplaced his certificate of residence but was classified as a merchant. He was a mining stockbroker, living at the Ken Chung Lung Store in Seattle. He owned 2,000 shares in the Canton Province Mining Company. He paid $.06 to acquire a share and got 15% commission on every dollar’s worth of stock he sold. He had sold over $2,000 worth of stock in a little over two years. He also sold goods on commission from the Ken Chong Lung Company. He denied doing any manual labor in the past twelve months. He signed his statement in Chinese characters.

12 March 1913
A letter from the Ellis DeBruler, Immigration Commissioner, stated that he was not satisfied that Ah Soon met the requirements to receive a return certificate as a domiciled exempt broker. DeBruler thought Ah Soon’s white witnesses also could not testify that he met the requirements.

20 March 1913
J. V. Stewart, Chinese Inspector, put a note dated 20 March 1913, into Ng Ah Soon file saying that he found Ng Ah Soon acting as cashier in the Peking restaurant in Tacoma, Washington. And J. A. Wilkens, A.S. Fulton, and watchman Sylvester, were witnesses also.

Ah Soon, “Stewart Note,”1913, CEA case files, RG 85, NARA-Seattle, RS Box 219, RS30384.

8 July 1913
Ah Soon testified that his “baby name” was Gong Sen, Hock (Hok) Fong was his marriage name, and his American name was Ah Soon. He was fifty years old, born in Har Ping village, Sun Ning District, China. He originally came to the U.S. through San Francisco. He had been back to China twice, in KS 24 or 25 (1898 or 1899), returning KS 26 (1900) through Port Townsend as a laborer. He went to China in KS 33(1907)  and returned in 1909 through Seattle as a merchant and a member of Ah King Company. In 1913 he was living in Tacoma and working as a laborer at the New York Laundry. He earned $40 per month. Charley Dan owned the laundry. He based his claim for a return certificate on his loan to Charley Dan for $1,100 so Charley could buy an interest in the Peking Café and buy a laundry. Ah Soon got the money from his brother, Ah King, [sometimes he says Ah King was his cousin] when he sold his interest in the Ah King Company store in Seattle. 

Ah Soon was married to Lou Shee. They had two children, a boy and a girl. Their son, Gong Sen/Kwong Sin was born in 1908, was six years old and their daughter, Ah Que, was about fourteen years old.

Ah Soon was cautioned that he should not collect any part of his loan to Charley Dan while he was in China because it would change his status and he would not be able to return to the U.S. Ah Soon signed his statement in Chinese and English. Charley Dan, baby name Men Dan, was his witness. Dan was married and twenty-eight years old. He and his wife and fifteen-month-old daughter, Annie Dan, were living at the laundry at 1508 South D Street in Tacoma. Dan was a native-born citizen. He went to China when he was six years old, returning when he was nineteen years old and was admitted at Port Townsend.

9 July 1913
A letter from the Immigrant Inspector in Tacoma to the Commissioner of Immigration in Seattle, confirmed that Ah Soon was issued a Certificate of Residence #14906 as a laborer at Helena, Montana on 24 Feb 1894. [Ah Soon status was changed from a merchant to a laborer.]

Ah Soon, “Letter 30,564,”1913, CEA case files, RG 85, NARA-Seattle, RS Box 219, RS30384.

5 August 1913
Ah Soon made another trip to China.

8 April 1915
Ah Soon was unable to return within the allowed one-year period because he was sick with rheumatism. He provided corroborative statements by Chin Gee Hee and Ng Kun. Ah Soon obtained a Chinese Overtime Certificate.

Ah Soon, “Overtime Certificate 25/1915,”1915, CEA case files, RG 85, NARA-Seattle, RS Box 219, RS30384.

9 May 1915
Ah Soon returned from China in May. Upon his arrival he testified that a son, Quong Ock was born after he left China in July 1913. He now had two sons. His daughter died about 1912.

12 July 1915
Ah Soon applied for the laborer’s return certificate to return to China. He recently had made a loan of $1,000 to Mah Fook Hing, a merchant at Yik Fong Company at 705 King Street in Seattle. Hing was interviewed and although he did not sign a promissory note, he substantiated Soon’s testimony. Ah Soon planned to leave for Hong Kong on the July 17 and would be staying at the Sam Yik Company. This is the last document in his file, so he probably did not return to the U.S.

Update on Jim Chin [Chin Shik Kuey (James)] (1937-2023)

Update on Jim Chin [Chin Shik Kuey (James)] (1937-2023) of Yakima, Washington who died recently. He arrived in Seattle as little boy in April 1940. After seeing his photo, the volunteers indexing the files fell in love with the adorable three-year-old who was frowning and wearing a big, heavy winter coat. As chance would have it, James Chin grew up to become the uncle of Lily Eng, a volunteer working on the Chinese Exclusion Act files.  

See James Chin’s photo and arrival story

Lily sent an excerpt from his obituary:

Jim Chin of East Wenatchee passed away peacefully at home on April 7, 2023. He was born in Toishan, China, on January 2, 1937, to Wong Yoke Lon and On Chin and arrived in Yakima at the age of three. As a teenager, he worked at the Golden Wheel Restaurant, co-founded by his father.
In 1960, he received a bachelor’s degree in Geography from Central Washington College. Upon graduating, Jim decided to pursue his love of photography, a passion he acquired as a teenager. He completed coursework at the Leica Technical Center in New York City, returned to Yakima, and worked for a photography store. Later, he continued his education at the University of Washington and received his Master’s Degree in Urban Planning.
He married Sue Chee Huie in 1961. For three years, he worked as the city planner for Salem, Oregon. In 1968, they moved with their two young children to Bellingham when Jim became the Whatcom County Planner. In 1979, he moved his family to Wenatchee to become part owner of the Mandarin Restaurant, founded by his father-in-law, Eddie Huie, and brother-in-law, Yue Eng. Jim worked there until his retirement in 1995.

May is Asian/Pacific Heritage Month

Content posted from May is Asian/Pacific Heritage Month

[RS 27464, Chin Quan Chan; Seattle District, Chinese Exclusion Act Case Files, Applications to Reenter, c. 1892-1900]: Chin Quan Chan Family, Chinese Exclusion Act Case File, circa 1911; Flickr.com

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

Like most commemorative months, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month originated with Congress. In 1977 Reps. Frank Horton of New York introduced House Joint Resolution 540 to proclaim the first ten days in May as Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week. In the same year, Senator Daniel Inouye introduced a similar resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 72. Neither of these resolutions passed, so in June 1978, Rep. Horton introduced House Joint Resolution 1007. This resolution proposed that the President should “proclaim a week, which is to include the seventh and tenth of the month, during the first ten days in May of 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’” This joint resolution was passed by the House and then the Senate and was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1978 to become Public Law 95-419 (PDF, 158kb). This law amended the original language of the bill and directed the President to issue a proclamation for the “7 day period beginning on May 4, 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’” During the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week until 1990 when Congress passed Public Law 101-283 (PDF, 166kb) which expanded the observance to a month for 1990. Then in 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 (PDF, 285kb) which annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

This site presents only a sample of the digital and physical holdings related to Asian/Pacific heritage available from the Library of Congress and other participating agencies.

Executive and Legislative Documents

The Law Library of Congress has compiled guides to commemorative observations, including a comprehensive inventory of the Public Laws, Presidential Proclamations and congressional resolutions related to Asian/Pacific Heritage Month.

About the Site

This Web portal is a collaborative project of the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The contents of this site highlight only a small portion of the physical and digital holdings of the participating partners.

Other Dedicated Web Sites

Ah Soon – Laborer then Merchant – Member of Ah King Company in Seattle

Ah Soon’s Chinese Exclusion Act case file starts in 1899. His affidavit, sworn on 12 April 1899 to the Honorable Collector of Customs in Port Townsend, Washington, states that he was a laborer applying for a certificate of departure. Ah Soon was a cook living in Helena, Montana when he applied.

“Ah Soon Affidavit,” 1899, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, Record Group 85, NARA-Seattle, Ah Soon file, Seattle Box RS219, File RS30384.

He returned to the U.S. on 14 March 1900 with the status of laborer and was admitted.

By 1907 Ah Soon’s life had changed. He was now living in Seattle, Washington, and a merchant at the Ah King Company. In April 1907 he started the process of obtaining the necessary documents to make a trip to China. He swore in an affidavit that he was a bona fide merchant for the Ah King Company and that he had been a member of the firm for one year and did no labor except that was necessary in the conducting of business. He was visiting China to bring his wife, Louis She, and his seven- year-old daughter, Ah Keo, back with him. He would retain his interest in Ah King Company. His photo was attached to the affidavit.

“Ah Soon Affidavit,” 1907, CEA case files, RG 85, NARA-Seattle, Ah Soon file, RS30384.

On 26 April 1907, G. W. Upper testified concerning the application of Ah Soon for a certificate of departure and return. Upper lived at 213 18th Avenue, Seattle. His business was in the Colman Building at West and Wheeler. He had been living in Seattle for seventeen years. The Ah King Company was formerly called Wah Yuen Company and Ah King had always been the head of it. Ah Soon managed the company while Ah King was in San Francisco on business. Soon did not do manual labor. Upper was formerly a teller at the National Bank of Commerce where Ah King Company did business and Ah Soon had the authority to sign checks on the company account. Upper did not know the amount of capital stock of the company but Ah King owned the building and paid more than $30,000 for it. They had a wholesale business and supplied Chinese camps throughout the West and Northwest.

The next day, witness Charles I. Lynch was interrogated. He had been living in Seattle for twenty-two years and was employed at the Post Office for the last eight years. He recognized a photo of Ah Soon and identified him as a member of the Ah King Company. He had known him about nine months. Some of the members of the firm were Ah King, Charley Sing, Ah Foon, and Ah Soon. Besides selling Chinese merchandise, they took contracts for cannery help for five canneries. They also sold produce from a 30-acre farm south of Seattle at Duwamish Junction.

Ah Soon was re-interviewed on 2 May 1907. He said he was 44 years old; born at Har Pong Village, San Ning, Canton, China. His other name was Hock Fong. He first came to the U.S. in KS 8 (1882), arriving in California. He was married and had one daughter. He was a laborer working for his brother, Ah King in Seattle for about two years. He was in Helena, Montana before that for over ten years working as a cook at French Charlie’s. He had a $1,000 interest at the Ah King Co. which sold Chinese groceries and general merchandise. He named ten of the members of the firm who each owned a $1,000 interest in the company.

Ah Soon said there were two other people in Seattle who were from his village, Har Pang. They were Hock Hung, in Wah Yuan’s store and Ah King. He said they were cousins. [In other interviews Ah Soon said that Ah King was his brother.] Ah Chung, a farmer, was another cousin  from Har Pong living in Waitsburg, Washington.

G. W. Upper was recalled to testify on 6 May 1907. He swore that he had known Ah Soon at least four years and that he still believed that Ah Soon had been a member of Ah King Co. for more than a year. Although he had known who Ah Soon was for four years, he knew him more intimately on a business level for the last two years.

A few days later, Ah Soon was recalled to testify. He was asked how long he knew Charles I. Lynch (about two years) and G. W. Upper (about five years). The Inspector pointed out that in his previous statement, Ah Soon said that he had only known Upper for two years. Ah Soon agreed that two years was incorrect; it was about five years.

Charles I. Lynch was also recalled on 9 May. Lynch was asked about his earlier statement that he knew Ah Soon for about nine months. Lynch said that was incorrect. He knew Ah Soon for more than a year. [To qualify as a reliable witness, the witness was required to know the affiant for one year or more.] He was sure Ah Soon still had an interest in the Ah King Co.

On 10 May 1907 Ah Soon’s Application for Preinvestigation of mercantile status for his trip to China was approved. Two days later Ah Soon left on a train for Vancouver. BC to start his trip.

Ah King, manager of Ah King Company, testified on 16 June 1908 that Ah Soon was still a member of his company. Ah Soon’s re-admittance application was approved.

Ah Soon’s 1909 Application for Admission as a Merchant included the following information: Ah Soon, Hok Fong (marriage name), age 46, height 5 feet 3-3/4 inches, scar on back of left hand, wife and two children born in Har Ping, Sun Ning, China; residence at Ken Chung Lung Company, Seattle, member of company for one and one-half years, $1,000 interest in company, twelve partners, position in firm: “traveling man;”

Mar Hing, a merchant for the Ah King Company, testified that Ah Soon was a member of the company with $1,000 interest whose name appeared on the partnership books.  Ah Soon was a temporary salesman, assistant to Ah King, and sometimes a traveling salesman for the store.

Ah Soon returned to the U.S. on 13 March 1909 and was admitted at Seattle as a returning domiciled Chinese merchant.

[Ah Soon’s file from 1912 to 1915 will continue in the next blog entry.]

Shao Chang Lee – Chinese Branch of the YMCA of San Francisco

Shao Chang Lee, age 29, of San Francisco, Secretary of the Chinese Branch of the Y.M.C.A. of San Francisco applied to make a short trip to Vancouver, B.C., Canada, in March 1919. According to his file he was a student, and he was re-admitted. The inventory file is only five pages long. It gives us very little personal information about Shao Chang Lee and probably tells us more about the tension between the international immigration offices, their rules and personnel than about Lee.  

Form No. E. 2877 from the Consulate-General of the Republic of China at San Francisco, California in included with an attached photo of Shao Chang Lee requesting that all Customs and other Officials and Authorities permit Shao Chang Lee to safely pass.

“Shao Chang Lee, Form No. E. 2677,” 1919, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, Record Group 85, NARA-Seattle, Shao Chang Lee file, Seattle Box 1264, 36392/1-1.

On 22 April 1919, Henry M. White, Commissioner in Seattle, sent a letter to the Inspector in Charge of Immigration Service in Victoria, B.C. asking why Shao Chang Lee was charged $1 to have his name entered on the alien passenger manifest in typewriting. White seemed peeved.

 On 2 May, White received a testy reply from S. J. Burford from Immigration Service in Victoria…

Shao Chang Lee file, Letter Burford-White, CEA, RG 85, Seattle 36392/1-1.

Other information in the file:
A business card for John E. Rieke who was associated with YMCA in Seattle but not mentioned in the file.

Shao Chang Lee file, John E. Rieke business card, CEA, RG 85, Seattle 36392/1-1.

This undated, unidentified newspaper article was included. The article mentions Judge Thomas Burke, president of the China Club; Chin W. Kee and Shao Chang Lee, Charles M. Schwab, Mrs. J. J. Connell, and Paul Fung.[i]

[i] “Paying Honor to Visiting Chinese,” Seattle Post Intelligencer, Seattle, WA, 9 April 1919, p.2, col. 3.

Robert Quan – Paperboys Excursion to Victoria, BC, Canada in 1938

In late September 1938, Robert Quon/Quong, age 15, applied to go to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, to attend a Seattle Times Newsboys Excursion. It was a one day trip, up on Sunday morning and back to Seattle in the evening. Robert needed to get his Form 430, Native Return Certificate, approved before he could leave.

Robert Quong Form 430 1938 Seattle
“Quan Robert, Form 430,” 1938 Chinese Exclusion Act case files, Record Group 85, NARA-Seattle, Quan Robert file, Seattle Box 271, 7030/11495.

Robert’s father, Eng Ah Quan/Harry Quong Eng testified that he was forty-three years old, born in Dallas, Texas. He said he was an “American citizen, absolutely.” He had never been to China. He married Jessie Quong, a Caucasian, in Omaha, Nebraska. They had four children, all born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Their children were Erma, 22, born July 25, 1916; Dorothea Marie, born 1919; Harry, Jr., born 1921; and Robert, 15, born August 26, 1923. They were all living in Seattle. Erma and Dorothy were attending Wilson’s Business College; Harry, Jr. was going to Garfield High School, and Robert attended Washington Grade School. They lived 436 23rd Street South. The children’s birth certificates were registered at Okmulgee, Oklahoma but they only had Harry’s certificate. Robert’s certificate was on order.

Mrs. Jessie Ethel N. Quong, testified as a witness for her son, Robert Quong. Mrs. Quong was born in Omaha, Nebraska; she was white, and had been married twice. Her second marriage was to Harry Quong (Eng) at Sapulpa, Oklahoma in 1915.

Robert Quan testified that his father worked as a cook at Moose Club. He thought his father went to China as a member of a crew once. [The Immigrant Inspector ignored this discrepancy and recommended that Robert application’s application be approved.]

The Reference Sheet included in the file only gives the file number for Robert’s father—7030/5501 for Eng Ah Quan Harry.

[I thought there might be an article in the Seattle Times newspaper about the paperboys excursion to Victoria but I could not find one. Robert looked happy in the Form 430 photo. He was probably excited about his upcoming trip. thn]

Remembering Al Young, 1946-2022

Al Young – Chinese dragster driver, former teacher at Seattle Public schools, previous member of the board of directors for MOHAI, in a movie about car racing, ambassador at Bardahl headquarters and so much more to his family and friends.

A belated tribute to Al Young

Remembering Al Young by Mahlon Meyer, Northwest Asian Weekly, December 15, 2022.

In April, Al Young took Harry Chan to visit Angel Island. The two friends were visiting San Francisco for a Bruce Lee convention. But Young, a champion race car driver who shattered racial barriers through his daredevil and consistent winning, could not shed his role as an educator. Besides being the first Asian American to win a panoply of honors on the track, he was a beloved teacher who over a span of 50 years taught a variety of subjects at various schools, including auto shop, film studies, U.S. history, American government, Chinese cooking, martial arts, and the core curriculum to students at an alternative K-12 school.

So returning to his native California, he could not resist educating his longtime friend, the owner of the iconic Tai Tung Restaurant, about something simultaneously more shameful but at the same time a source of his lifelong fight against racism and injustice.

Touring the island, Chan was at first struck by the beauty. 

“You could see the ocean everywhere,” he said in an interview.

But then Young showed him the cell where his grandmother was kept for a year when she first arrived from China.

“We saw where people had written on the wall in Chinese how much they missed their homes,” said Chan.

Such a “show and tell” approach—creating a form of experiential learning for his friend—epitomized the way that Young approached life. From the race track, to the classroom, to the open streets where he still performed the lion dance or martial arts into his 70s, or even through his tenure as a member of the board of the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), and perhaps most of all as a father, husband, brother, and son, Young exemplified the courage to bring out the best in others by taking risks himself and by remaining fully present and supportive with those around him.

Young died on Dec. 11 surrounded by family. He was 76.  The cause was complications following a heart attack.

The outpouring of grief that has filled the many communities he touched and transformed seems endless. In the few days since his death, wave after wave of former students, friends, fellow activists, and fellow race car drivers poured out their sadness and longing for him to still be present with them, as he had been for so much of his life.

“He was a true renaissance man and reached many people throughout his life, as a teacher, mentor, activist, business owner, race car driver, kung-fu Si-Hing, coach, and friend,” said Chase Young, his son. “As a son, I’m so proud of him and thankful for everything he has taught me about life, fatherhood, family, love, responsibility, loyalty, respect, hard work, and bringing positivity to the world.”

Young was born on April 28, 1946 in San Jose, California to Col. John C. and Mary Lee Young.

A documentary created by Rick Quan, “Race: The Al Young Story,” describes his early struggles with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which caused him to very nearly flunk out of school. It was not until one day, by accident, that he discovered he could read and concentrate on a book while walking, that his life transformed. Prior to that, the printed page was too demanding with the many distractions that his disorder sparked in him. But once he made this discovery, always an innovator, he began to take many-mile-long walks around a nearby lake, with a book open under his nose. He not only graduated high school, but he was accepted at the University of Washington and went on to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s in English Literature.

His boundless energy also found a channel in car racing, which began illegally on the streets in the Bay Area, but soon led him to the top of the heap and won him a sponsorship from Bardahl Manufacturing Company, formerly the largest company in Seattle.

Young described ADHD as an advantage on the track. 

Waiting in his race car, watching the signal lights move from yellow to green, with his engine roaring and huge wheels spinning under him, a cloud of smoke enveloping the car, time would stand still for him, he said. 

Whereas for most people, the succession of lights signaling the start of the race happened in rapid succession, for Young, he said it all occurred in slow motion, with each light filling up like a balloon being blown up—he indicated with his hands.

“One thing about having ADHD, when you concentrate, you really concentrate,” he said, in the documentary.

At times, he slipped out of the starting block one-thousandths of a second after the green light flashed.

But racing also demanded another type of concentration, one that all drivers shared, he observed, and one that united them in steering away from any kind of judgment-making based on race or anything else.

“When you’re in the car racing, if you’re thinking about your opponent—is it a man or a woman, or about what he or she looks like, or anything about him—you’ve already lost,” he said.

For years, Young was not only the first but the only Asian American race car driver, and his opponents never held it against him when he beat them.

Countless former drivers posted on his Facebook page remembering his glories and his acts of kindness and mentoring at races.

Perry Lee, a martial artist and owner of one of the largest collections of Bruce Lee memorabilia in the world, said that the study of martial arts had also contributed to Young’s concentration and confidence.

Moreover, Lee said Young was perhaps the most empathetic person he had ever known.

“You could feel it right away,” he said.

Young was also highly engaged in social activism. From the beginning, he painted his car with the symbol of a Chinese lion, to draw attention to racial stereotypes and how they needed to be broken.

“If you look at my face, you might be 80% wrong about me, based on common stereotypes, but if you look at my car, you’d probably be 80% right,” he said.

His later car, a green Dodge Challenger with the Bardahl slogan painted on, which led him to so many victories it was hard to count, he eventually donated to MOHAI, where it is on display. 

In a tribute to his legend, the museum also sells miniatures of his car in the gift shop.

In working for social justice, Young was one of the most outspoken and courageous advocates for the downtrodden and his community. 

Bettie Luke, who recounted that she and Young had both worked in Seattle Public Schools, said she was “pleasantly surprised” to see that Young, along with Chan, had made the long trip to take part in the 150th Golden Spike Ceremony, where his sister was giving the opening speech, to commemorate the completion of the trans-pacific railroad, built by Chinese laborers.

In articles for this newspaper, Young would not pull punches, but call out moves by authorities that he saw as racist as “bull—t” or “white supremacy.”

Vicki Young, his wife, said: “He spoke from his heart.” 

Young was seemingly always available with his time and expertise and willingness to do virtually anything for anyone, as many friends and former students have shared.

“He would take care of you,” said Vicki.

Around the time he was on Angel Island, this reporter was visiting France with his wife. After getting lost and finding a small restaurant that was closed and wouldn’t serve food, I reached out to Young for help. The reason was this: the owner of the restaurant was a flamboyant French man who owned a Ford Mustang he rented out as part of his business. But he lamented that he could not find a carburetor for it in France, rendering it useless. I, in desperation, thought of Al Young (doubtless as many others had before). Because of his character and personality, I did not have the slightest hesitation about calling him up, without the slightest notice, from the middle of France, at an odd hour, and with a bizarre request. He instantly solved the problem. He told me about a special website on which foreigners could buy top-quality American-made auto parts for classic cars. I then told the French restaurant owner about this. He was thrilled.

My wife and I got our meal.

Young is survived by his wife, Vicki; son, Chase Young; daughter, Ashley Durant’ grandchildren Caden, Isa, Lilly, Peyton, Jacob, and Solomon’ daughter-in-law Kelly’ son-in-law Joel’ sister Connie Young Yu and her husband, John Yu; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

According to his son, he was acutely aware of funding drying up for automotive and other shop classes, where many students really gained confidence and a sense of themselves.

In his memory, and to honor his wishes, the family has started a Gofundme page for the Seattle Skills Center of the Seattle Public Schools.

“Al Young was a firm believer in public education. He felt strongly that vocational education classes needed more funding and attention,” said Chase.

Any donations to honor his legacy and continue the work he pursued for a lifetime can be made at: https://bit.ly/3uS18dS

Mahlon can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.

Northwest Asian Weekly/Seattle Chinese Post

Mahlon Meyer “One newspaper closes and another goes online — Community looks back and mourns,” Northwest Asian Weekly, 19 January 2023.

The Northwest Asian Weekly and the Seattle Chinese Post ceased print publication on January 19, 2023. The Weekly will be available online.

Assunta Ng, editor of the Northwest Asian Weekly and the Seattle Chinese Post

See 19 January 2023 Seattle Times article by Daniel Beekman for more photos and history.

Update on Donaldina Cameron and the Ming Quong Home

Elena B. Wong Viscovich, Ed.D, sent me a clarification and update on the original 3/21/2016 blog entry on Donaldina Cameron and the children at the Ming Quong Home.

Ming Quong Home was established 1925 for girls that were orphans, half-orphans, children of divorce, unwanted by a step-parent, or because of mental, physical health of parents, and of refugee status, etc. The children at Ming Quong Home were not prostitutes, orphans of prostitutes, nor illegitimate children. 

Photo from The Story of the Ming Quong Home website

For a more complete story about the Ming Quong Home, please go to “The Story of the Ming Quong Homes” and its citations by Elena B. Wong Viscovich, Ed.D, a Ming Quong alumna. While researching the Ming Quong Home, Dr. Wong Viscovich found the original log listing the names of the girls at Ming Quong. She then helped redesign the contents of the Ming Quong Museum Room at the Pacific Clinics property in 2021. The log listed the reasons for placement which is mentioned above.