• Wing Luke and the Museum

    Learn about the vision and legacy of our namesake Wing Luke




“My brother Wing Luke had a saying, ‘Don’t do things because of who is right, but because of what is right,’” said Bettie Luke, Wing Luke’s sister。

A Chinese American boy dreaded going to school. He was tired of being bullied for being different, for being Asian. One day, he decided he couldn’t put up with it anymore. He had to stand up to them, to fight back. So he picked up his pen – and he drew funny comic strips. Before long, his classmates wanted to read them, and he became popular, eventually elected class president at Roosevelt High School in Seattle.

This boy was Wing Luke.

Son of a laundryman and grocer and an immigrant from China, Wing Luke went on to become one of nine high school students to consult for a White House conference on youth issues, earn a Bronze Star Medal for his Army service during WWII, receive a law degree from the University of Washington, and be appointed Assistant Attorney General for Washington State.

In 1962, Wing Luke made history, elected as the first person of color on the Seattle City Council and the first Asian American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest. His unique combination of politics, compassion and advocacy of diverse communities made him a powerful force for equal housing, urban revival and historic preservation of Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square and the Seattle Waterfront. Wing was a trailblazer of his time.

In 1963, Wing Luke played a key role advocating for the City Council passage of the open housing ordinance, which led to the creation of the Seattle Human Rights Commission. Journalist Emmett Watson wrote, “Probably no man on the nine-member Council had more to do with this action than Wing Luke.”

幸运快3Tragically, his promising career was cut short in 1965 when a small plane he was riding crashed in the Cascade Mountains. He died at the age of forty. Despite the short tenure of his career, Wing inspired many. In his memory, the community created the Wing Luke Memorial Foundation and eventually built a pan-Asian museum based on his vision.

Wing Luke’s legacy continues on today at the Wing Luke Museum and beyond. Several decades later, the museum is an important place where the Asian Pacific American community looks to for engagement, inspiration and leadership – a legacy that Wing Luke left to Seattle. In 2016, the Washington State Attorney General’s office  the  in Wing Luke’s honor, forming a special team that would investigate and help enforce civil rights and anti-discrimination laws.

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