Chinese American Citizens Alliance

Identification: Chinese American political organization

Also known as: Native Sons of the Golden State (1895-1915)

Date: Chartered in 1915

Significance: The alliance has provided a unified political voice for American-born Chinese Americans, combating discrimination in immigration, housing, education, and health care and creating social activities for the celebration of Chinese heritage.

American-born Chinese Americans at the end of the nineteenth century had much to overcome. Anti-Chinese sentiment was high among European Americans, and laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Geary Act of 1892 restricted immigration and residency of those born in China. Those of Chinese descent born in the United States faced concern by their elders that they were becoming too assimilated and forgetting their heritage. In 1895, a group of Chinese Americans in San Francisco created the Native Sons of the Golden State (not to be confused with the white nativist organization “Native Sons of the Golden West”), the first chapter in what grew by 1915 to be a national organization, the Chinese American Citizens Alliance. The group sought to find ways for Chinese Americans to overcome anti-Chinese sentiment and participate fully in American life. At first limited to male members, the group accepted its first female members in 1977. The alliance published its own Chinese-language newspaper, the Chinese Times, from 1924 to 1988; provided insurance to members denied coverage because of discrimination; organized and supported community projects, including voter registration drives, playground and educational programs, and medical facilities; and encouraged young people to participate in traditional Chinese and American activities.

Cynthia A. Bily

Further Reading

  • Chen, Shehong. Being Chinese, Becoming Chinese American. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2002. 
  • Lai, H. Mark. Becoming Chinese American: A History of Communities and Institutions. Walnut Creek, Calif.: AltaMira Press, 2004. 
  • Ng, Franklin, ed. The Asian American Encyclopedia. Tarrytown, N.Y.: Marshall Cavendish, 1995. 

See also: Anti-Chinese movement; California; Chinese American press; Chinese boycott of 1905; Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882; Chinese immigrants; Chinese laundries; Chinese Six Companies; Geary Act of 1892; Native Sons of the Golden State.

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