"It was because of his leadership that we kids developed the way we did," said jovial, husky-voiced sister Ruby Luke, who along with Young and sister Bettie Luke
helped shape the vision for the reborn museum.
...Appointed assistant attorney general for the state's civil-rights division in 1957, Luke won a position on Seattle's City Council five years later, at age 38.He
helped pass Seattle's open housing ordinance, with provisions against racial discrimination, and earned praise for leading with optimism, compromise and conviction.
rising career came to an abrupt end when, while returning from a fishing trip, his
small plane crashed in Okanogan County, the wreckage not found for several years.
Born Feb. 25, 1925, near Guangzhou, China, Luke
came to the U.S. at age 6 and grew up the oldest of seven children whose Chinese immigrant parents ran a laundry in the University District.He
tackled the challenge of English head-on, learning to subvert bullying with humor, wit and, eventually, a talent for cartooning.
...At the time, the country was in the thick of World War II, and upon graduation, Luke joined the Army.His
service would take him to Guam, Korea, New Guinea and the Philippines, where he
earned a Bronze Star.
If there was a single incident that lit her
brother's fire for social activism, said sister Bettie
, it was the family's eviction from their University District apartment during World War II.Their landlady, she
said, threw the whole family out, forcing Wing to return home on furlough to help them relocate: "She
said, 'We're still at war.I can't tell them apart, and I don't want them around here.' "After the war, Luke returned to Seattle, where he earned political-science and public-administration degrees at the UW, led the school's Young Democrats group and was elected president of his sophomore class.He
was forever the teacher, challenging and enlightening his
always urged them to read, even if it was just a cereal box at breakfast.When he
went away to graduate school at American University
in Washington, D.C., he'd encouraged Marge to write."I was about 8 years old," she
In other words, added Bettie
, the baby of the family, while ancient silks and jades already had a home, it was "the everyday culture, the living culture, that's going to die away and needs to be preserved."
The three sisters will stay involved with the expanded facility, collaborating on exhibits for the museum's Luke Family Association
Room, a new space they lobbied to create in honor of the family organizations that once helped recent immigrants get on their feet.The Luke Family Association
was one of five that once met in the building; one of the other family rooms has been preserved as part of the museum's "historic immersion" experience.
"The Luke family spirit was already there," Bettie
The museum, which now includes a large community space, is a tribute to their brother's dreams and principles, Luke's sisters say.Bettie, who is administrative director for the Greater Seattle chapter of the Organization for Chinese Americans, said the facility "will continue to educate across generations and cultures.