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Seattle's Asian American Movement

International District Preservation Movement

Following the disruption of the Kingdome’s groundbreaking and march on HUD, and for the rest of the the rest of the 1970s, Seattle’s Asian American movement focused upon expanding the International District’s affordable housing and providing a wide range of culturally appropriate services to the neighborhood’s residents, particularly its elderly. Seattle’s movement activity set itself apart from others on the West Coast for two reasons: it was an explicitly pan-Asian movement, and it focused on the needs of the neighborhood’s residents over the desires of tourists.

From 1973-75 , activists put heavy pressure on King County Executive John Spellman to provide mitigation money to the International District to offset the effects of the Kingdome’s development. These efforts culminated in a Feburary 3, 1975 march on Spellman’s office, documented in the images below. The march was meant to demonstrate community support for an “8 point program” to preserve the ID. It was organized largely by Asian youth activists who called themselves the “Committee for Corrective Action.” It included members of the Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP) and a number of high-school age youth from the International District Youth Center (IDYC) as well as others marching in solidarity.

For more information about the march, click on these articles:

For more information about the movement to preserve Seattle’s International District, we recommend Bob Santos’s memoir, Humbows, Not Hot Dogs!.

March on Spellman’s Office, February 3, 1975. Photos © YK Kuniyuki. Republication without written consent is prohibited.