Name of AAPI FigureWong Kim Ark 黄金德
What is the person’s Asian heritage or ethnicity?Chinese American
Area of Influencelaw/politician
Date of birth or time period1873
How did this individual make a contribution to their field or to society/culture at large?As one of the first Asian American political figures, Wong’s influence in politics still remains today. Birthright citizenship, the right to be American citizen if born in the United States, was established through Wong’s effort in the United States supreme court. Wong’s fight for citizenship began in 1897 when he was denied entry to the United States due to the Chinese Exclusion Act after traveling abroad. He decided to take this issue to the court and challenged the United States government’s refusal to recognize his citizenship. The Supreme Court ruled in his favor and established that the 14th Amendment recognizes all circumstances of birth and be restricted by an act of Congress. This decision thus became the precedence to the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Why did you choose this person? What about their story speaks to you?I chose this person because his impact of the immigrant policy of the United States is unmatched. The Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment is by far the most important to immigrants of the United States. To defend that policy and succeed in it is a massive achievement. In a very difficult time for Chinese Immigrants due to the Chinese Exclusion Act, Wong accomplished a truly extraordinary feat.
Submitted byJun Ishibashi
City, StateLexington, MA