Chief Seattle Thelma Dewitty Thomas Foley Carrie Chapman Catt Anna Louise Strong Mark Tobey Helene Madison Home
Search Encyclopedia
Facebook
Advanced Search
Featured Eassy Sponsor of the Week Book Store Donate Now
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6871 HistoryLink.org essays now available      
Donate Subscribe

Shortcuts

Libraries
Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search

Features

Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Everett
Olympia
Seattle
Spokane
Tacoma
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Wing Luke is elected to Seattle City Council on March 13, 1962.

HistoryLink.org Essay 716 : Printer-Friendly Format

On March 13, 1962, Wing Luke (1925-1965) is elected to the Seattle City Council. He becomes the council's first non-white member and the first Chinese American elected to a major post in the continental United States.

Wing Luke attended the University of Washington, entered the army where he served in The Philippines, then returned and earned a law degree from the University of Washington School of Law. He served as an assistant attorney general from 1957 to 1962. 

He resigned this position to take his seat on the city council. At a luncheon of assistant attorneys general on March 17, held at the University of Washington's student union building, Luke was honored and bid farewell. He wore a bright green shamrock in his lapel to honor St. Patrick's Day, and commented:

"This is the American story ... that a councilman of Chinese ancestry is wearing the shamrock, made in Japan, imported by a person of Jewish ancestry, and given to me by a Scandinavian to celebrate a holiday of Irish origin" (The Seattle Times, March 18, 1962).

During his brief tenure on the Seattle City Council, Luke quickly distinguished himself as a champion of civil rights, progressive reform, and urban conservation. Victor Steinbrueck (1911-1985) credited Luke with sparking the movement that saved the Pike Place Market.

Luke disappeared on May 17, 1965, while flying over the Cascades in a small plane with philanthropist Sidney Gerber and Gerber's assistant, Kate Ladue. The wreckage was found many years later. His memory is now honored by the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience.

Sources:
Walt Crowley, Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995), 207, 222; "About Wing Luke," Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience website accessed March 21, 2012 (http://wingluke.org/about.htm); "Younger Men Win 2 Council Posts; Old Hands Re-elected," The Seattle Times, March 14, 1962, p. 2; "Collier, Luke Are Honored by Colleagues," The Seattle Times, March 18, 1962, p. 21; David A. Takami, Shared Dreams: A History of Asian and Pacific Americans in Washington State (Seattle: International Examiner, 1989).
Note: The date of Wing Luke's election was corrected on March 21, 2012.


Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Firsts | Government & Politics | Asian & Pacific Islander Americans |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You




Wing Luke (1925-1965), 1963
Courtesy Wing Luke Asian Museum


Wing Luke campaign sign for Seattle City Council, Seattle, 1961
Courtesy UW Special Collections and Wing Luke Asian Museum (Image No. 1992.034.001)


 
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search

HistoryLink.org is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM)
HistoryLink.org is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email admin@historylink.org