Civil Rights Involvement

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At that time also I was involved in the Civil Rights Movement. I marched with Dr. Martin Luther King. I was doing a civil rights musical called “Fly Black Bird” which ran for 11 months here in Los Angeles. And we sang at many of the rallies. And that's where we met Dr. King. He asked us to meet him backstage afterwards. And what a thrill to shake his hand. To meet people like Dr. Martin Luther King and Eleanor Roosevelt for a young teenager was an incredible thrill.

From that, I got involved in other social justice campaigns. I was involved in the peace movement. I was an actor then, and in the entertainment industry, we had an organization called the Entertainment Industry for Peace and Justice. Worked together with people like Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland. I organized Peace Sunday at the Biltmore Bowl. We wanted an event for the Asian American community because the Asian American community is rather reticent about going out to rallies and marches and things like that. So we wanted to have something that was compatible with the Asian American community, so we got the Biltmore bowl.

Date: February 3, 2015
Location: California, US
Interviewer: John Esaki, Janice Tanaka
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

activism civil rights movement community social justice movements

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