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This is a good question. When the Chinese (pre-1911) came to America, the Chinese helped each other informally at first. This should not be surprising, because they shared a similar culture and spoke the same language. Soon afterwards, the Chinese created societies to help other Chinese. For example, San Francisco became a one of the first places where these organizations took root. These organizations were called "Kongsi" in Chinese.
These Kongsi helped other Chinese with the various difficulties of moving to a new country and starting all over again. For instance, they provided translation help, relocation services, job searches, lodging, and even helped in locating other Chinese from the same province.
As far as we know, the first Chinese society was established in 1849. Later a more famous organizations would rise; One of the most famous ones was called the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA). This association played a large role in establishing the Chinese in America.
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