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A History of Diversity at USC Gould: Profiles of Notable Alumni

You Chung Hong ‘24 ‘25

You Chung Hong (1898-1977) was the first Chinese-American lawyer in California and the first Chinese-American graduate from USC Law School. He was an influential lawyer and key leader in civic engagement with the Chinese-American community in Los Angeles. He was also deeply involved with the creation of New Chinatown in 1938.¹ A tireless advocate for Chinese-American civil rights, Hong was dedicated in his work to repeal the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and had testified before the U.S. Senate Committee Hearing on immigration laws in 1933.¹ As a community leader, he was elected president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Chinese-American Citizens Alliance.²

The son of poor Chinese immigrants who came to San Francisco to work on railroad construction, Hong founded an English language school for Chinese immigrants after graduating high school in 1915 while working as a bookkeeper for local Chinese restaurants in the city.² After moving to Los Angeles in 1918, Hong worked as a translator for the United States Immigration Service. There he met a Japanese interpreter attending USC Law School who extolled the virtues of the legal profession.² 

Hong enrolled at USC in 1920 and dedicated himself fully to his studies.² He passed the bar exam a year before graduating in 1923 and earned degrees in law in 1924 and 1925. Hong’s scholarly dedication and legacy among the Chinese American community inspired the creation of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers’ Association Y.C. Hong Award.²

Sources: ¹USC Gould, ²USC Law Magazine (Fall, 1997, p. 11-13)
Profile Photo: The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

You Chung Hong Gallery

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