The Chinese Youth Federation and Mr. Alfred Wong

The Chinese Youth Federation was an umbrella group of 5 of the Chinese American clubs in Chinatown in the mid 1940s. Almost all the members were born in America except for maybe 4 who came from China at an early age. There were 75 members with 30 girls and 45 boys. The members lived in the greater Chinatown area with a few from the Bronx and Brooklyn.

     Photo 1    Photo 2

Photos 1 & 2 show the roster of the Chinese Youth Federation with the street name addresses but without the numbers. Click on photo for a larger image.

The function of the Federation was to sponsor various group functions like dances, sport tournaments, civic events, trip to Washington DC, picnics etc.

The 5 clubs in the Federation were the AWVS Jr., CCC, DOCs, Dragonettes, and Pandas.

The AWVS Jr. was the American Women Volunteer Service Junior an organization which helped in the war effort. They used a room in the Chinese Public School as their meeting place.

The CCC was the Chinese Community Club which sponsored athletic teams, bowling tournaments, the field day and baby parade at Columbus Park as well as other social events such as dances including the annual one at the Essex House. It was the largest group and had their clubhouse at 24 Pell St. The famous Chinatown Pharmacy(*) at 47 Mott St run by Mr. Hing Chu and Mr. Kang Chu, served as a hang out for the early members who helped to found the CCC. The Chinese American Athletic Club (CAAC) was part of the CCC and had senior, intermediate and junior teams all coached by Mr. Lung Chin. We played basketball in the gym at the Church of All Nations located at Houston St and Second Ave. After games, we then showered and swam in our “birthday suits” (all boys of course) in the pool. The CAAC’s “Midget” basketball team won the NY City Police Athletic League championship and played an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden in 1945. Later the teams also played at the True Light Lutheran Church gym. In addition the CCC had softball teams which played at Columbus Park and the Riverside Park.

The DOCs was the Daughters of China, a team of girl basketball players formed at True Light.

The Dragonettes was a girls club.

The Pandas was a boys athletic team.

Instrumental in the formation and operation of the Federation were two advisors, Rev.Sheldon Rahn and Mr. Alfred Wong. I think Rev. Rahn was a social worker with a church organization. 

Al Wong gave his time to the Federation willingly. He was fair and straightforward. I might add that Al was a good referee in our basketball games at True Light.

It should be noted that Mr. Alfred Wong went on to become the Secret Service agent in charge of White House security during the era of the Nixon tapes and Watergate. Later he became the Marshall and head of security at the United States Supreme Court, the first Chinese American to occupy those positions.

Al passed away in 2010. Here is his obituary in the Washington Post:  

*http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/07/AR201*<http://www.google.com/url?sa=D&q=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/07/AR2010040704867_5.html&usg=AFQjCNFXcifl6hYU7Z0A5oCw2fJlIYhMTw>

Alfred Wong Secret Service Official, Court Marshal

Alfred Wong, 91, a former Secret Service official who was said to have supervised the installation of Richard M. Nixon’s White House taping system and who later served as a top administrator of the U.S. Supreme Court, died April 2 [2010] at his home in Potomac. He had mesothelioma, a form of cancer.

Mr. Wong spent 24 years in the Secret Service before retiring in 1975 as deputy assistant director in charge of White House security. While serving in the White House, his job was to prevent the White House from being bugged. For that reason, he told USA Today in 1994, he was reluctant to follow the presidential order to install a taping system in the Oval Office.

“My first response was that we shouldn’t do it, but then it was that we have to do it,” Mr. Wong told the newspaper. “They wanted it done surreptitiously.”

The tapes were instrumental in Nixon’s downfall during the Watergate scandal.

From 1976 to 1994, Mr. Wong was marshal of the U.S. Supreme Court, serving as the high court’s general manager, paymaster and chief security officer.

He performed his most visible role at the start of the court’s proceedings, which he opened with the traditional cry of, “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting. God save the United States and this Honorable Court.”

Mr. Wong, the son of Chinese immigrants, was a New York native and a 1950 graduate of Fordham University. He served in the Army in North Africa and Italy during World War II. His decorations included the Bronze Star Medal.

He was a life member of the Association of Retired Police Officers, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the American Society for Industrial Security.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Nora Wu Wong of Potomac; three daughters, Lorrie Chow and Barbara Follett, both of Potomac, and Shirley Weaver of Phoenix; and nine grandchildren.

Adam Bernstein

 

http://www.zoominfo.com/#!search/profile/person?personId=59854720&targetid=profile is a link to some other very interesting accomplishments of Mr. Alfred Wong.

For example, he traveled to Taiwan with President Johnson and went to China with President Nixon.

This link <http://www.napoaonline.org/memoriam/notable_deaths.html> has a photo of Al.

Mr. Alfred Wong served his country as a WW II decorated army soldier, a Secret Service Official at the White House and later as US Supreme Court Marshall. He also served his home community as an advisor to the young people of Chinatown in the 1940s.

 

(Sept, 2013 – This article contributed by)  Newton Chin

 

(*) Anyone in town with a speck in the eye would run to the “pharmacy.” I remember Mr. Hing Chu or Mr. Kang Chu flipping my lid and removing the speck with a Q tip, done quite expertly and without charge. One could say that this may have been the first lesson in my training towards becoming an eye doctor.

 

 

 

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