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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Title:Chinese Progressive Association records
Call Number:M163

Scope and Content Note

This collection is organized into five series and documents the founding, growth, and development of the Chinese Progressive Association from its inception in 1977 to the early 2000s. The collection also documents the foundation and development of the Association's Workers' Center, founded in 1987 in response to the sudden closing of two sportswear factories in Chinatown and the resulting displacement of garment workers.

The collection reflects the growth of the Association through its involvement with the community and local issues. The Association's first major project was organizing for Long Guang Huang's assault case against the Boston Police Department in 1985; the Association found volunteers to attend hearings, write letters, create petitions, and lobby Boston public officials in support of Huang. The Association's involvement with displaced garment workers in the mid–1980s led to the foundation of the Workers' Center which enabled staff and community members to collaborate on labor–related issues. The Workers' Center files document the early development of the Center, the growth of its involvement in national labor issues, and the Center's video documentary project on the P & L garment workers (Box 14).

The Association also helped create the Coalition to Protect Parcel C, a group concerned about proposed land development in Chinatown in the 1990s. The Coalition files reflect the complexity of the project and its successful conclusion when the Parcel C land was granted back to Chinatown for a community center. The Association was also active in educating the Chinatown community about voting rights and education issues, including the debate over bilingual education and the drive to have English declared the state language of Massachusetts. The Association held various fundraising, educational, or social events including movie screenings, coffee hours, and potluck dinners, documented in the collection by promotional, planning, and fundraising materials.

The records also document the Association's involvement with projects sponsored by other Chinatown and city–wide organizations such as the Asian American Resource Workshop, the Chinatown Initiative, and the Boston Foundation's Persistent Poverty Project. Topics documented include urban development, unionization, unemployment rights, immigrants' rights, workers' rights, race–related violence, tenants' rights, bilingual education, Chinese cultural activities, strike organizing, and retraining of adult workers