About the Project
Activist Oral Histories
Segregated Seattle
Civil Rights Organizations
Seattle's Ethnic Press
Research Reports
Special Sections
African Americans
Asian Americans
Native Americans
For Teachers
Site map

Doug Chin

Interview 3/1/05 by Trevor Griffey and Brooke Clark
Summary prepared by Brooke Clark

 00:00†† He grew up in Seattle in the 1940s and 50s in the Central Area of Seattle. He attended Horace Mann elementary, and Washington middle school. All the schools he attended had a significant percentage of minority students. In 1960 he went into the army after graduating from Garfield High School. His father was a waiter, and then ran a restaurant. All the Chinese he knew worked in the restaurant business because they couldn't get jobs they were hired for. 

*6:00†† He often wondered why Chinese were treated like second class citizens and she said that this is America and America is for white people and everybody else is second. She encouraged him to work hard ad he could have something better. He was in the military for three years, and then came back to Seattle, went to Olympic College and the moved to Oakland. 

8:30†††† In the 1960ís, the Bay Area was a hotbed for the civil rights and anti-war movements. He worked at a post-office and when they renewed the GI bill, he went to San Francisco State. There he became a leader of the third-world minority movement and the fight for ethnic studies. In 1968-69 they closed the school down for six months and demanded the development of ethnic studies programs. 

*11:50 His political interest was peaked when he lived in Oakland and was trying to cross the bay bridge and activists were closing it down. People were hurt by the police and he realized that just because he had served and didnít have to serve was that it was an unjust war and he grew compassionate. He joined the East Bay Chinese Youth Council at UC-Berkeley and got ethnic studies programs there. 

15:56†† He returned to Seattle after 8 years, and found that the Chinatown needed renovation and this was an issue he could fight for.

*18:00 The only people who were living in Chinatown were older, poor people and there was a lot of money floating around through the Model Cities programs and other federal money. 

19:00†† The Dome stadium was an issue to spotlight Chinatown and were worried that the International District would be taken over. While working at DSHS, he talked about her wanted housing, social services-food programs, counseling, health services, and which they all got. The Stadium was built, but the city put resources and money in planning and provided overlay zoning and helped the area remain and sustain its identity. The allocation of equitable resources was important. 

*29:00 People demanding this caused the International District to not only remain but thrive once again while they faded away on other places. In 1965, the immigration laws changed and the Asian population in Seattle exploded.

32:20†† Doug wrote the first paper on Chinese history which was published and was contacted constantly because it was the only piece out there on this topic.

34:30†† He wrote extensively for The Asian Family Affair, No Separate Peace, and The International Examiner. 

*35:30 When he was at DSHS, he met other activists such as Larry Gossett, Tyree Scott, and Michael Woo and demonstrated with them, even got arrested with them. They worked well together because they were all in the same struggle.  

37:10†† Efforts to enforce Title VII federal statute which stipulated equal access to social and health services for Hispanics and Asian American immigrants and refugees with bi-lingual services, brochures, etc. 

39:30†† Funds for renovation of the International District came from Model Cities and from block grant money from HUD. 

42:30†† Activist press plays an important role in protest because newspapers and television tell what is important because they define what is considered important simply because it is covered in that medium. Itís important to capture the issues because mainstream press wonít.

45:58†† He made news and the next day he would write about the demonstrations he had participated in the day before. He gained valuable experience while writing for the various activist presses. 

47:20†† While at No Separate Peace, they tried to link the struggles of all different minority groups. The publication grew from a monthly four page newsletter to a 20 page bi-weekly publication. 

52:30†† The International Examiner helped activists and businesses work more closely together. 

56:15†† Some people had an issue with what to call the district, Chinatown or the International District. Chin was most concerned with whether people had housing, could afford to live there, eat there, get affordable health care, and whether they are safe or not. 

59:45†† He believed that Chinese activism stemmed form the black civil rights movement and the Chinese viewed them as role models.

©2004- 2018    How to cite and copyright information  |  About project |  Contact James Gregory  | Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights Projects | University of Washington