Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2351

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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note


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Collection Overview
Name of Creator:Chinese Progressive Association (Boston, Mass.).
Title:Chinese Progressive Association records
Reference Code:M163
Location Code:56/3
Extent:12 cubic ft. (12 boxes)
Scope and Content Abstract:This collection documents the activities, events, and administration of the Chinese Progressive Association and its Workers' Center. Topics documented include strike organizing, workers' rights, racial violence, urban development in Chinatown, bilingual education, tenants' rights, and retraining of adult workers. Records include correspondence, meeting minutes and agendas, memoranda, booklets, programs, handbooks, fact sheets, fliers, brochures, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, reports, transcripts of garment worker interviews, posters, VHS tapes, photographs, and slides.
Historical Abstract:The Chinese Progressive Association is a grassroots community organization founded in Boston's Chinatown in 1977 to advocate "for full equity and empowerment of the Chinese community in the Greater Boston area and beyond." The focus of the Association was to provide Chinatown residents a forum for their concerns and a way to communicate their vision for the community to officials of the City and Commonwealth. The Association aimed to provide support for workers and immigrants, particularly new Asian immigrants, needing translation services or other support. The Association also organized community support for victims of anti–Chinese racial violence, lobbied the Commonwealth for unemployment forms and office support in Chinese and other Asian languages, worked to increase Chinese–American involvement in electoral politics, and raised awareness of the struggle of immigrant workers. In the mid–1980s, the Association worked with laid–off workers from P & L Sportswear and Beverly Rose Sportswear to establish Commonwealth–funded bilingual retraining programs. This led to the founding of the Association's Workers' Center in 1987. In the 1990s, the Association was actively involved in the debate over the development of Parcel C in Chinatown. The Association continues its work on tenants' rights, workers' rights, political empowerment, and local Chinatown issues, including a campaign to re–establish a branch library in Chinatown and to secure the future of Chinese and Vietnamese bilingual ballots for Boston voters.
Language and Scripts:The collection is primarily in English but also includes a large number of documents in Chinese.
System of Arrangement:Arranged in 5 series: 1. Administration; 2. Events; 3. Community Organizing; 4. The Workers' Center; and 5. Audio–Visual.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • The Chinatown Coalition (Boston, Mass.).
  • Chinese Progressive Association Workers' Center (Boston, Mass.).
  • Chinese Progressive Association (Boston, Mass.).

  • Bilingual education
  • Chinese Americans
  • Community development
  • Community organization
  • Displaced workers
  • Garment workers
  • Immigrants

Conditions Governing Access:Several files are restricted for 50 years. Please contact the University Archivist for more information.
Immediate Source of Acquisition:The collection was donated to the Archives in May 2008 and October 2010 by Lydia Lowe of the Chinese Progressive Association.
Accruals:Further accruals are expected.
Related Materials:

The Archives and Special Collections Department captures the website content of the Chinese Progressive Association, which is accessible at:*/

Processor:Finding aid prepared by Hanna Clutterbuck, January 2011