Well known were New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay’s regular walking forays into Harlem and his capture of 45 percent of the city’s Black voters in the 1965 mayoral election. These photographs from the Chinese American Times document the mayor’s less reported courting of Chinese American voters and visit to Chinatown during his 1969 reelection campaign. That year’s race pitted Lindsay, the incumbent and Liberal Party candidate, against Democratic primary winner, Mario Procaccino, and Republican nominee, John J. Marchi, in a contentious three-way race that prompted each to scour the city’s mosaic of ethnic communities for votes. Here, Lindsay is pictured attending an event with enthusiastic supporters hosted by Independent Chinese American Citizens of New York City, and walking the streets of Chinatown feted by parades, fireworks, and dragon dancers. When Lindsay ultimately won reelection, he recognized Chinese Americans’ political support by appointing Irving S. K. Chin to the city’s Human Rights Commission. As the first person of Chinese descent to serve in the position, Chin worked to address housing, employment, and other pressing problems then facing the Chinatown community due to its rapid expansion in the wake of recent relaxations of race-based immigration restrictions. It should be noted that the Chinese American Times’ coverage of the event was especially apt. It was the first paper catering to the English-speaking second-generation of Chinese Americans eager to exercise political participation, whereas its forerunners had served a primarily Chinese-speaking immigrant generation.
John Lindsay Campaigns in N.Y. Chinatown. Courtesy of William Yukon Chang, Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) Collection.