BOOKS & CONVERSATIONS: Samurai Among Panthers: Richard Aoki on Race, Resistance, and a Paradoxical Life by Diane C. Fujino

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Conference/Presentation

Aug 20124
2:00p.m. - 4:00p.m.

Japanese American National Museum
100 N Central Ave
Los Angeles, California, 90012
United States


The first biography of Asian American activist and Black Panther Party member Richard Aoki!

An iconic figure of the Asian American Movement, Richard Aoki (1938-2009) was also, as the most prominent non-black member of the Black Panther Party, a key architect of Afro-Asian solidarity in the 1960s and 70s. His life story exposes the personal side of political activism as it illuminates the history of ethnic nationalism and radical internationalism in America. 

A reflection of this interconnection, Samurai among Panthers weaves together two narratives: Aoki’s dramatic first-person story and an interpretive history by a leading scholar of the Asian American Movement, Diane C. Fujino. Aoki’s candid account of himself takes us from his early years in Japanese American internment camps to his political education on the streets of Oakland to his emergence in the Black Panther Party. As his story unfolds, we see how his parents’ separation inside the camps and his father’s illegal activities shaped the development of Aoki’s politics. Fujino situates his life within the context of twentieth-century history—World War II, the Cold War, and the protests of the 1960s. She demonstrates how activism is both an accidental and an intentional endeavor, as well as how a militant activist practice can also promote participatory democracy and social service. 

The result of these parallel voices and analysis in Samurai among Panthers is a complex—and sometimes contradictory—portrait of a singular extraordinary activist and an expansion and deepening of our understanding of the history he lived. 

Diane C. Fujino is associate professor and chair of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her books about leading Asian American activists Yuri Kochiyama (Heartbeat of Struggle) and Fred Ho (Wicked Theory, Naked Practice) are published by the University of Minnesota Press.

Free with Museum admission. Reservations recommended to rsvp@janm.org or 213.625.0414 at least 48 hours prior.

www.janm.org

 

JANM . Last modified Jul 23 2012 11:58 a.m.


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