Judge Blocks Sale and Closure of National Archives in Seattle

U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour granted a preliminary injunction Friday morning to stop the sale of the National Archives at Seattle.

Coughenour said the feds could have avoided a “public relations disaster” if they had “displayed some sensitivity” to how the closure affected the Northwest.

See the complete article by Seattle Times staff reporter Erik Lacitis:

National Archives Closure Hearing – Friday, 2/12/2021 at 9 a.m. (PST)

National Archives at Seattle

There will be a hearing on the sale of the National Archives on Friday, February 12, 2021 at 9 a.m. (PST)
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and his team will be in federal court to ask for an injunction to immediately stop the sale.

The Zoom video version is only for the lawyers and the judge, but the public can listen in by calling (669) 254-5252, and at the prompt, put in the meeting ID: 161 786 3808.

See today’s Seattle Times article for more information.

 

Gold Medal Replicas for Chinese WW II Vets

Published on January 7, 2021 by NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY, Seattle, WA

The Chinese American Citizens Alliance-Seattle and community volunteers are planning a regional ceremony in the spring to present Chinese American World War II (CAWW2) Congressional Gold Medal replicas to each registered veteran or next of kin at no-cost. The Virtual Chinese American World War II Veterans Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony was held last month. For more information, please contact info@cacaseattle.org.

The CAWW2 Project is continuing to accept registrations to capture, preserve, and aggregate the names of those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces—Army, Army Air Forces, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine—and creating the only database of its kind of the achievements and contributions of Chinese Americans during WWII.

Tagging and Transcribing the Chinese Exclusion Act Case Files

Some of the Chinese Exclusion Act case files that have been digitized and need to be tagged and transcribed and YOU can help.

See the link below to get started.

https://www.archives.gov/citizen-archivist/missions/chinese-heritage

This is a great way to learn about the records and help make these records more accessible. The records are all in English.

Gee Moon Jew, farmer on Vashon Island, Washington

[The National Archives is still closed because of COVID-19. This file was copied before the closure in March 2020. I will let you know when the archives reopens. THN]

“Gee Moon Jew, Certificate of Identity” 1930, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Gee Moon Jew case file, Seattle Box 441, file 7030/1001.

Gee Moon Jew 朱文周 was 35 when he applied for a return certificate to allow him to make a trip to China. He was a poultry farmer in Vashon, Washington. He was born about 1897 in Hong How village, Sunning District, China. He came to the U.S. in 1909, at the age of 14, arriving in San Francisco. He was considered a U.S. citizen, the son of a native. His father, Gee Fee Yee, marriage name You Ming, was born in San Francisco. His mother was in China. He had three brothers and one younger sister. His older brother, Gee Moon Bin [sic] and his younger brother Gee Moon Taw, were both living in California. Gee Moon Jew married a Caucasian woman, Charlotte Irene Rogers in Vancouver, Washington in November 1918.  After marrying he took the name George W. Jenn.  George and Charlotte had six children; Mary Frances, born 1919; George Walton, born 1921; Alice Martha, born 1923; William Lawrence, born 1925; Eugene, also called Wee Jee, born 1927; and Helen Elizabeth Jenn, born 1927. Mary Frances was born in Seattle and the other children were born in Vashon.

Gee Moon Jew was taking his two eldest children, Mary Frances and George Walton, to China so they could attend a private Methodist school in Canton City. He was also going to visit his mother and other relatives and expected to be gone about three or four months. The children would probably stay three years.

Immigration authorities also interviewed Gee Moon Jew’s wife. Charlotte Irene Ward was 28 years old and born in Larned, Kansas. Her stepfather’s surname was Rogers. They could not afford to take the whole family to China, so she was staying home with the younger children. Her mother was coming from California to stay with her. There were short interviews for Mary Frances and George Walton. They identified their parents and their birth certificates were examined.

Roy M. Porter, the Immigrant Inspector, examined Gee Moon Jew’s 1909 San Francisco file. His father, Gee Fee Yee, had a Seattle file showing that he was admitted at Port Townsend, Washington in 1897. He also had a San Francisco file with a discharge statement showing that he was a native-born U.S. citizen. Porter approved the application for a return certificate for Gee Mon Jew and his children. A copy of Gee Fee Yee’s 1909 affidavit was included in the file.

“Gee Fee Yee affidavit with photos of Gee Fee Yee and Gee Mun Gew [sic]” 1909, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Gee Moon Jew case file, Seattle Box 441, file 7030/1001.

The reference sheet in the file included the case numbers for the files of Gee Moon Jew’s father, his brother, Gee Moon Ben; and Ben’s two sons, Gee Quong Sam and Gee Suey Gin.

AG Ferguson to host host remote public comment meeting on National Archives facility and records

https://www.atg.wa.gov/news/news-releases/ag-ferguson-host-remote-public-comment-meeting-national-archives-facility-and

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec 29 2020

Feds did not solicit input in the Pacific Northwest before deciding to sell the building and move the region’s records

SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced he will host a remote public meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, so the public can share their comments on plans by the federal government to sell Seattle’s National Archives building and move the records thousands of miles away.

The federal government did not hold any meetings of its own in the Pacific Northwest, and did not consult with state, local, or tribal leaders in the region prior to announcing its decision to sell the Archives facility.

One member of the Public Buildings Reform Board (PBRB) recently said the sale would allow the Archives building to “become a part of the community, as opposed to what it is today.”

The office will record the public comments and forward them to the PBRB. Ferguson will also formally invite the PBRB members to attend the remote public hearing. The public meeting will be held via Zoom from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 19, 2021.

Zoom link: https://atg-wa.zoom.us/j/83852186385?pwd=amIvSHA4MHJJdzRVcDgzRSthQjdpQT09

Meeting ID: 838 5218 6385

Passcode: 426894

Phone: 253-215-8782, 838-521-863-85#

Find your local number: https://atg-wa.zoom.us/u/kBnoJrmI5

Individuals with questions about the meeting or looking to provide assistance with the case should use this form.

“The federal government continues its complete indifference for the communities, tribes and individuals impacted by its plan to sell the National Archives facility and export archival records out of the region,” Ferguson said. “The bare minimum American taxpayers should expect is the ability to provide public comment before bearing the brunt of important government actions that cannot be undone. Unfortunately, in this matter, the federal government utterly failed to meet that low bar, which is why my office is forced to do it for them. I’m inviting Washingtonians to tell the federal government what this building, and the millions of records it houses, means to them and their communities.”

On Thursday, Dec. 4, Ferguson announced that his office recently uncovered a dramatic change in the plan for the proposed sale of the National Archives building buried in a 74-page meeting minutes document from October. During the October meeting, the PBRB disclosed that it would move to immediately sell the Archives facility, along with a “portfolio” of other federal properties, in early 2021. It had planned on selling the properties individually over the next year.

Ferguson’s legal team is finalizing a lawsuit to stop the federal government from proceeding with an expedited sale of the National Archives facility in Seattle.

Additionally, Ferguson’s office already filed four lawsuits seeking access to public records about the PBRB’s decision. Judge Robert S. Lasnik of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington will preside over the four cases. On Dec. 10, Ferguson filed a motion for summary judgment in the records case against the PBRB.

Decision to sell the Seattle National Archives building

Last year, the PBRB identified a dozen federal properties around the U.S. as “High Value Assets” and recommended their sale in a manner that will “obtain the highest and best value for the taxpayer” and accomplish the goal of “facilitating and expediting the sale or disposal of unneeded Federal civilian real properties.” Among those properties — many of which involved abandoned or unused warehouses or buildings — was the National Archives building in Seattle, a building housing critical historical documents of the Pacific Northwest, including extensive tribal records. No local, state or tribal officials were consulted in its initial selection.

In January, OMB approved a recommendation from the PBRB to sell the building on Sand Point Way in Seattle. The board’s recommendation included removing the contents of the Seattle archives and relocating them to facilities in Kansas City, Mo., and Riverside, Calif.

The Seattle archives contain many records essential to memorializing Washington’s history, including tens of thousands of records related to the Chinese Exclusion Act, records of the internment of Japanese Americans, and tribal and treaty records of federally recognized tribes throughout the Northwest. Researchers, historians, genealogists and students routinely use these records.

Washington’s tribal leaders, historians and members have noted the federal government has excluded them from most discussions on selling the building and moving documents — many of which are the only tribal treaties or maps in existence — more than a thousand miles away. Notably, tribal officials were never consulted regarding the proposed sale notwithstanding agency tribal consultation policies requiring such consultation.

Update – National Archives at Seattle

BREAKING news per Feliks Banel at KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest :
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson will file suit against the Trump Administration to halt the “expedited” sale of the Seattle facility of the National Archives. Based on a decision quietly made by the esoteric federal agency called the Public Buildings Reform Board, sale of the building could now happen as soon as January 2021. The decision to sell the building in the first place lacked transparency and was made without required public and stakeholder input.

Ah Kong – Spokane, Washington – Oriental Café

Ah Kong 1907 photo
“Ah Kong photo, Eng Gin affidavit” 1907, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Ah Kong case file, Seattle Box RS 195, file RS 29169.

[The National Archives is still closed because of COVID-19. This file was copied before the closure in March 2020. I will let you know when the archives reopen.  thn]

In 1907 Eng Gin swore in an affidavit that he had been living in Port Townsend, Washington for forty-three years. On the Chinese date of 11 February 1877 (American date in March 1877), he and his wife, Yet Yue, had a son, Ah Kong, in Seattle, Washington. Their son was born at his place of business and residence on Washington Street between Second Avenue and Occidental Avenue. In 1885 he sent Ah Kong to Her Ping village, District of Sun Ning, Canton Province, China, to be educated. By 1907 Ah Kong finished his studies and his father wanted him to join him in Port Townsend. Ah Kong’s mother, Yet Yue died in Port Townsend about 1888. A photo of Ah Kong was included on his father’s affidavit.

In January 1908 Ah Kong, the son of Eng Gin formerly of Seattle, applied for admission to the United States at the Port of Seattle as a returning native-born Chinese.

Ah June was a witness for Ah Kong. Ah June’s name at birth was Ng Tung June and his married name was Ng See Sing. He was forty-four years old and a merchant, the manager of Zee Tai Company in Port Townsend, Washington. He came to the U.S. in 1876. He lived in Port Townsend since his arrival except for nine years in Boise, Idaho (1894 to 1903). He made three trips to China during that time. On his third trip in 1904, he resided in the Village of Gim On in the Sun Ning district. He visited Ah Kong and his family and gave Ah Kong one hundred Mexican dollars from his father.

Ah June knew Eng Gin since 1882 when Eng was living in Port Townsend at the Zee Tai’s store on Water Street, later the location of the Palace Restaurant. Eng Gin was with his wife Shue Shee (Yet Yue) and his son Eng Kong who was about five or six at that time. Eng Gin and his family lived in Port Townsend for about six months before moving to Port Discovery where Eng Gin was employed as a foreman in a sawmill. They stayed there about two years then moved back to a house on Quincy Street in Port Townsend. Ah June thought Eng Gin had another son who was called Ah Wing or Eng Wing but did not know much about him.

Ah Kong was questioned after he arrived at the Port of Seattle on 8 January 1908. He said his other name was Yee Quay and his family name was Eng. He was thirty years old and married. He was born in Seattle on Washington Street between Occidental and Second Avenue. When he was about seven years old, he went to China from San Francisco with a distant cousin, Eng Fong Hock.

Aloysuis Harker was also a witness for Ah Kong. He was in the produce and commission business and had lived in Seattle since 1871, over thirty years. He was well acquainted with many Chinese and knew Chin Ching Hock, Chin Gee Hee, Lu Woo, Eng Gin and many others. He was asked in detail about the addresses for several Chinese businesses. Some of the street names had changed since the Seattle fire of 1889 so he drew a map to show where the businesses were and to explain the new street names. Although Harker had not seen Ah Kong in many years, he thought the photo Ah Kong on his identity card had “the appearance” of the boy he had known twenty years ago.

C. E. Carleton testified for Ah Kong. Carleton was a painter who came to Seattle in 1881. He knew Eng Gin, Wah Chong, Chin Pong and several other Chinese. He got to know Eng Gin when he painted the store Eng managed, Quong Yuen Long Company, on Washington Street. He said the store was on the south side of Washington Street next to the old Standard Theatre which was now the Lyric Theatre. He pointed placed out on the maps that Harker had drawn. He described Eng Gin’s wife as short, thickset, fat, and good looking with big feet. Ah Kong was a young boy when he met him. To the best of Carleton’s memory, the young man in the case file photo resembled the boy he met many years ago.

Ah Kong was admitted at the Port of Seattle.

Ah Kong Form 430 1912 photo
“Ah Kong, Form 430 photo” 1912, CEA files, RG 85, NARA-Seattle, Ah Kong case file, file RS 29169.

In April 1912 Ah Kong applied for pre-investigation of status as an American-born Chinese. He wanted to make a trip to China. Ah Kong was a restaurant keeper at the Oriental Café at 412 Riverside Street in Spokane, Washington. He gave his name as Ah Quong [usually spelled Kong] of the Ng [Eng] family. His married name was Yee Quay. He was thirty-five years old and was born in Seattle, Washington. He married Louie See of Wong Mo Hin village, Sunning district, China. She had bound feet.  Their two sons and one daughter, ages eight to twelve, were born in Sai On village, Sunning district, China.

Ah Kong’s Form 430, Application of Alleged American-Born Chinese for Preinvestigation of Status, dated 29 April 1912, states that officer in charge was prepared to approve the application. There is nothing in the file that shows that Ah Kong left the United States in 1912 or returned at a later date.