The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) is the oldest community organization in the United States. Grow out of its parent organization, the Chinese Community Center which was founded in 1883, CCBA has represented and served the needs of Chinese Americans in America even since. Based on its official website, the CCBA has performed a quasi-governmental role in the Chinese community, and through its history, business ownership has been a goal of many residents of Chinatown, and has been supported both financially, and through training by the CCBA. In New York City, the CCBA is an umbrella organization of 60 member organizations representing a cross-section of New York’s Chinese community.
The CCBA is a historical Chinese association
established in various parts of the United States and Canada with large
populations of Chinese. It
is the largest and longest-running Chinese mutual-aid society in the United
States. In the nineteenth century, the Chinese in the Americas created a
variety of organizations to fight the anti-Chinese movement that ultimately led
to hash and restrictive immigration policies. Locked out of many economic
opportunities, prevented from acquiring American citizenship, and discriminated
against in ways that often led to violence, the Chinese created their own
support networks based on mutual ties in China.
Before the first CCBA was formally established in 1882, six companies, the Sam
Yup Company, Yeong Wo Company, Kong Chow Company, Ning Yung Company, Hop Wo
Company, and Yan Wo Company, in San Francisco were operating as separate
entities with some degree of mutual coordination. Thus, the resulting alliance
was often referred to as the “Chinese Six Companies.” Later, companies’
officials renamed themselves to the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
of San Francisco (CCBA-SF). Close
upon the heels of the founding of CCBA-SF, Chinese diplomatic officials
encouraged the formation of CCBAs in other large Chinese communities to lead
and represent the communities. Thus, CCBAs were founded in New York City
(CCBA-NY, 1883), Portland (Before 1887), Honolulu (1884), Victoria, British
Columbia (1884), and Lima, Peru (1885).
As the Ching Dynasty ended in China and the
political situation there became increasingly unstable, the CCBA also became inevitably
involved in Chinese politics. In the 1920s to 1930s, KMT leaders in the U.S.
recruited party members among CCBA directors in an effort to control the
political capital of the Chinese in America. After 1949, the Communist takeover
of the mainland China, the CCBA remained steadfastly pro-KMT, forming
anti-Communist leagues and organizing propaganda to encourage support of the Chiang
Kai-shek’s regime in Taiwan.
With the growth of the native born American
population, the liberalization of American immigration laws, and the
recognition of the mainland regime in the 1960s, the role of CCBA in Chinese Americans
lives weakened. Chinese Americans were no longer concentrated in Chinatowns and
no longer dependent on CCBA’s leadership to defend against the racism in America.
Still, the basic concept of a Chinese mutual aid society has been retained, and
today’s CCBA continues to provide social services to its fellow Chinese