First Chinese lawyer in Mass. honored at alma mater Suffolk University

By Kenny Sui-Fung Yim

 

The Asian Pacific American Law Student Association installed the Harry H. Dow lecture on Immigration Law at Suffolk University Law School on March 4. The idea was hatched over a dinner discussion by the Suffolk Law APALSA executive board, which wanted to do something to honor an important Asian-American member who had graduated from Suffolk law school.

Fred Dow, son of Massachusetts’s first Chinese-American lawyer Harry Dow, spoke at Suffolk University on March 4. (Image courtesy of Michael Clarke.)

Fred Dow, son of Massachusetts’s first Chinese-American lawyer Harry Dow, spoke at Suffolk University on March 4. (Image courtesy of Michael Clarke.)

Harry Dow was born on March 13, 1904 in Hudson, Mass. This was the period of paper sons, and the Chinese Exclusion Act was still in place, so anti-Chinese attitudes were rampant. Many Americans viewed the Chinese with suspicion, as many entered the country illegally by buying their identities.

By working hard, Dow succeeded in school. He graduated from SULS in 1929 and became the first Chinese-American admitted to the bar in Massachusetts the same year. Dow continued to work within the Chinese community in New York and Boston at Shawmut Avenue, although he left private practice in 1963. He served in World War II as a captain in the Army Intelligence Corps and in the Korean War as well.

Dow was a champion of not only the Chinese immigrant community, but the poor, elderly and other traditionally underserved and underrepresented groups.

At the lecture, Dominic Yee gave the opening remarks, followed by President James McCarthy of Suffolk University. Associate Dean Ilene Seidman spoke next. As she introduced Dow’s son, Fred, she reminisced about the Chinatown dinners Dow hosted, which were always well-attended.

During the tribute and slideshow, Fred Dow highlighted moments of his father’s life using documents from personal family files and photos. These artifacts have been generously donated to the SULS archives, and will be catalogued and digitized in the Moakley Institute.

After the tribute, representatives of the APALSA board launched the fundraising drive for the Memorial Scholarship Award. APALSA President Jessie Yip said donating to the fund would create an endowed scholarship for the academic year 2014-15 that would be self-financing. The goal is to raise $50,000 so that future generations of students can benefit from a three-year legal education.

The next lecture, titled “The Impact of Immigration Law on Boston Communities,” will be held Oct. 21 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the First Floor Function Room at Suffolk University Law School.

This post is also available in: Chinese

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