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Finding Aid for the Steve Louie Asian American Movement collection, 1930-1980 (bulk 1964-1980)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Processing Note
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Steve Louie Asian American Movement collection
    Date (bulk): 1930-1980 (bulk 1964-1980)
    Collection number: 1805
    Creator: Louie, Steve
    Extent: 3 boxes (1.5 linear feet) 6 oversize boxes
    Abstract: The Steve Louie Asian American Movement collection contains materials produced during the organizing efforts of the Asian American Movement of the 1960s-1970s. The collection includes newspapers, subject files, posters, t-shirts, buttons and other ephemera. The items were gathered from across the U.S., but the majority of holdings are from California. Steve Louie, an Asian American activist, compiled the collection.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English, some Chinese.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Steve Louie, May 1997.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Tiffany-Kay Sangwand in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Kelley Bachli, 2008. Finding aid is based on collection descriptions written by Steve Louie.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Steve Louie Asian American Movement collection (Collection 1805). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6013414 


    Steve Louie, an Asian-American activist, compiled the Steve Louie Asian-American Movement Collection which focuses on the Asian American Movement that spanned the late 1960s and 1970s. Louie participated in the Asian American Movement across the U.S., but spent the majority of his time in California.
    In 1949, Steve Louie was born in San Francisco. In 1967, Louie was accepted to Occidental College. He was heavily influenced by the Black Panther Party and Mao Tse- Tung, which led him to first volunteer at a community storefront in Watts and then join the Los Angeles chapter of the Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA). He was a founding member of the Asian Alliance, the first Asian student group at Occidental that successfully organized the first Asian American history class and was an active member in the Third World student coalition. During his junior year in 1969, Louie received the Richter Fellowship which enabled him to travel to San Francisco, Boston, and New York and participate in the Asian American Movement taking place in these respective cities. During his time on the east coast, Louie met comrade and colleague, Glenn Omatsu, who was organizing at Yale.
    After completing his junior year, Louie left school to become a full-time organizer in the growing Asian American movement. He moved to San Francisco and initially worked with the Japanese Community Youth Council in Japantown. While working in Japantown in 1971, he helped form Joint Communications, a support program for Asian prisoners in Northern California. He also began working at the Asian Community Center in Chinatown and became an active member of organizations such as U.S.-China Friendship Association and Wei Min She (Serve the People), an Asian American anti-imperialist organization. In 1973, he began working on a truck dock as both a worker and a labor organizer.
    While he was a part of Wei Min She, he served as a photographer and the co-editor for the organization's publication, Wei Min. The organization operated out of the Asian Community Center, located in the basement of the International Hotel (a low-income housing building for the elderly) in San Francisco's Chinatown. The geographic location was significant not only for its proximity to the Asian community, but also as a site of struggle for tenants' rights. Louie was one of the many active community members against the eviction of International Hotel residents in 1977. While working at the Asian Community Center in 1971, Louie met his wife Mary Chin with whom he started a family.
    In addition to his work as a labor organizer and member of Wei Min She, Louie has worked closely with organizing Asian-American Studies centers in colleges and universities across the U.S., anti-war (Vietnam) actions, Marxist-Leninist-Mao Tse-Tung study groups, Asian-American prisoners, and Japanese-American youth. In 1997, Louie and Omatsu co-taught a course at UCLA entitled, "The Asian American Movement," which examined the Movement, its legacy, and its relevance to current social struggles. They further collaborated to edit the anthology, Asian Americans: The Movement and the Moment, which was published in 2001 by the UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press.
    Steve Louie currently resides in San Francisco and is semi-retired.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains a variety of media - newspapers, subject files, posters, buttons, and t-shirts. The materials were generated by the collective efforts of students, community organizations, activists, and independent political presses as a means of political organizing during the Asian American Movement of the 1960s-1970s. The materials reflect the breadth of political ideologies and organizations represented within the Asian American movement. They intend to provide an overall but not comprehensive view of the Movement. Louie also collected a handful of materials produced by other movement struggles such as the Black Panther Party, Black Liberation Front, the United Farmworkers Union, and the Revolutionary Communist Party. The photocopied newsletters from the Japanese American Committee for Democracy (New York) were produced during World War II and represent some of the oldest materials in the collection; the dates span from 1945 to 1947.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The collection is organized into five series based on type of medium - newspapers, subject files, posters, buttons, and t-shirts. The organization of the collection adheres to the original order of the collector Steve Louie, with the exception of materials that were obviously out of order chronologically or alphabetically.
    1. Newspapers
    2. Subject Files
    3. Posters
    4. Buttons
    5. T-shirts

    Processing Note

    When the collection was donated to UCLA in 1997, Steve Louie provided an item level description of the collection. The collection's original organization has been maintained and Louie's descriptions are the basis of the finding aid. In January 2008 the collection was processed by Tiffany-Kay Sangwand, with assistance from Kelley Bachli in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Louie, Steve --Archives.
    Political activists --California --Archival resources.
    Asian American Political Alliance (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Wei Min Shè.

    Related Material

    Microfilm of the collection is available at the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. For more information, go to the Center's website at http://www.aasc.ucla.edu/default.asp  , or call 310-825-5043.