Fong, Hiram, 1906-2004

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Hiram Leong Fong (born Yau Leong Fong; October 15, 1906 – August 18, 2004) was an American businessman, lawyer, and politician from Hawaii. He served as a member of the Hawaii Territorial House of Representatives from 1938 to 1954, serving as Speaker of the House in his last six years, and as the first Asian-American United States Senator, representing Hawaii from 1959 to 1977. At the 1964 Republican National Convention, Fong became the first Asian-American to receive delegate votes for his party's nomination for President of the United States.

Born in Hawaii, he attended local public schools and graduated from McKinley High School in 1924 before earning a B.A. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. After earning his J.D., Fong returned to Honolulu and worked in the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney of Honolulu. In 1938, Fong went into private legal practice and founded the firm of Fong, Miho, Choy, and Robinson, the same year he entered the Hawaii Territorial House of Representatives. During this time, he was one of the foremost leaders in the fight to make Hawaii a state. He was forced into retirement when the Democratic Party of Hawaii successfully ended a Hawaii Republican Party stronghold over the Hawaii Territorial Legislature by voting most Republican incumbents out of office. Fong founded several businesses after leaving the legislature.

Upon achieving statehood through the Admission Act of 1959, Hawaii returned Fong to elected office; he became one of its first United States Senators. During his time in the Senate, Fong voted in favor of the Civil Rights Acts of 1960, 1964, and 1968, as well as the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the confirmation of Thurgood Marshall to the U.S. Supreme Court. Fong supported both the Vietnam War and President Nixon during the Watergate scandal. Citing a growing workload and desire to spend more time with his family and friends, Fong declined to run for re-election in 1976. Fong returned to his law firm, his plantation on Oahu, and various businesses as chairman of Finance Enterprises Ltd. Fong worked well into his 90s. He died of kidney failure on August 18, 2004, in Kahaluu, Hawaii.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Byrd, Harry Flood, 1887-1966. Papers of Harry Flood Byrd [manuscript] 1911-65. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Gale W. McGee papers, 1916-1992 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Gale W. McGee pre and post-senate personal files, 1937-1992 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Gale W. McGee departmental files, 1959-1976 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Gale W. McGee campaign files, 1958-1976 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Gale W. McGee speech and trip files, 1959-1991 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Gale W. McGee general correspondence files, 1959-1976 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Gale W. McGee Wyoming post office files, 1960-1970 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Gale W. McGee legislative files, 1959-1975 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Gale W. McGee appointment books and daily schedules, 1959-1990 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
creatorOf Fong, Hiram, 1907-2004. Senator Hiram L. Fong papers. University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hamilton Library
referencedIn Gale W. McGee miscellaneous senate materials, 1958-1976 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
contributorOf U.S. Senator Hiram Fong Visits the Philippines - October 20-23, 1959 United States. National Archives and Records Administration
referencedIn Arthur E. Scott photograph collection, 1910-1976 George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives
referencedIn Gale W. McGee new accretions, 1938-1981 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Gale W. McGee committee files, 1958-1976 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Gale W. McGee safe materials, 1922-1975 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Publicity photographs of U.S. Senator Hugh Scott, 1958-1973. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Reapportionment - Hearings - Statements - Fong, Hiram L. United States. National Archives and Records Administration
contributorOf Congressional Correspondence Files, 1942 - 1962: Fong, Hiram (Hawaii) United States. National Archives and Records Administration
referencedIn Gale W. McGee artifacts, 1958-1976 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Leach, Walter Barton. W. Barton Leach Papers. 1920-1971. Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
contributorOf Hiram Fong INS File National Archives at San Francisco
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. COL BORMAN, HICKAM AFB, HAWAII
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. ARRIVAL OF PRESIDENT NIXON, HICKAM AFB, HAWAII
referencedIn Gale W. McGee audio-visual materials, 1955-1974 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Gale W. McGee photographs, 1916-1980 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
creatorOf Presidential Inability - Hearings - Statements - Fong, Hiram United States. National Archives and Records Administration
referencedIn Gale W. McGee environmental files, 1974-1976 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. PRESIDENT JOHNSON IN HAWAII National Archives at College Park
contributorOf Former Members of Congress, Inc. (U.S.). Oral history collection, 1974-1980, audio materials [sound recording]. Library of Congress
referencedIn Outgoing Correspondence by Name - Senate: Fong, Hiram Gerald R. Ford Library
referencedIn Gale W. McGee artwork, undated Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Byrd, Harry Flood, 1887-1966. person
parentOf Fong, Hiram L. (Hiram Leong), Jr. person
alumnusOrAlumnaOf Harvard Law School corporateBody
memberOf Hawaii. Legislature. House of Representatives corporateBody
associatedWith Leach, W. Barton (Walter Barton), 1900- person
associatedWith McGee, Gale W. (Gale William), d. 1915- person
associatedWith McGee, Gale W. (Gale William), d. 1915-1992 person
memberOf United States. Congress. Senate corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf University of Hawaii at Manoa corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Kahalu‘u HI US
Cambridge MA US
Honolulu HI US
Subject
Occupation
Lawyers
State Representative
Businessmen
Army officers
Senators, U.S. Congress
Financial Entrepreneur
Activity

Person

Birth 1906-10-15

Death 2004-08-18

Male

Americans

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 85688429