Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California’s 29th district (D), 1957-1963
Born in India, Dalip Singh Saund was the first Sikh American, Asian American, and Indian American to be elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
After immigrating to the United States in 1919, Saund joined his fellow Indian immigrants by working as a lettuce farmer in the Imperial Valley of California where he fought for farmers’ benefits from the New Deal Program. In the early 1940s, Indian Americans were still barred from obtaining U.S. citizenship. Saund founded the grassroots India Association of America which pushed for the creation of a 1946 bill that made it possible for Indian immigrants to become naturalized; Saund became a U.S. citizen in 1949.
Often known as the “Judge”, Saund was elected to the Imperical County Democratic Central Committee in 1950 and ran for a judgeship twice after being vacated the first time and facing a barrage of racial discrimination in both campaigns.
“Dalip Singh Saund Collection,” South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA), accessed January 17, 2021, https://www.saada.org/collection/dalip-singh-saund-collection.
Staceychandler, “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: Dalip Singh Saund,” The JFK Library Archives: An Inside Look, May 15, 2020, https://jfk.blogs.archives.gov/2020/05/15/dalip-singh-saund/.“SAUND, Dalip Singh (Judge) | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives,” @USHouseHistory, 2019, https://history.house.gov/People/Detail/21228.