Samurai among Panthers : Richard Aoki on Race, Resistance, and a Paradoxical Life

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-05-02
  • Publisher: Univ of Minnesota Pr
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An iconic figure of the Asian American movement, Richard Aoki (19382009) 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 Panthersweaves together two narratives: Aoki's dramatic first-person chronicle 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 and how a militant activist practice can also promote participatory democracy and social service. The result of these parallel voices and analysis in Samurai among Panthersis a complex-and sometimes contradictory-portrait of a singularly extraordinary activist and an expansion and deepening of our understanding of the history he lived.

Author Biography

Diane C. Fujino is associate professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has published two other books with the University of Minnesota Press, Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama (2005) and Wicked Theory, Naked Practice. A Fred Ho Reader (2009).

Table of Contents

Abbreviationsp. ix
Introduction: Demystifying the Japanese Radical Catp. xi
"My Happy Childhood That I Don't Remember"p. 1
Disrupting the Deviant-Noble Binaryp. 5
"Protecting the Japanese"p. 10
The Ungrieved Trauma of Internmentp. 20
"Learning to Do the West Oakland Dip"p. 27
Masculinity, Race, and Citizenship in Postwar Oaklandp. 62
"I Was a Man by the Standards of the 'Hood"p. 66
Military Misadventures and Cold War Masculinityp. 91
"My Identification Went with the Aspirations of the Massess"p. 97
The Old Left, Third World Radicalism, and Vietnamp. 118
"The Greatest Political Opportunity of My Life"p. 127
Joining the Black Panther Partyp. 163
"Support All Oppressed Peoples"p. 168
Founding the Asian American Political Alliancep. 180
"It Was about Taking Care of the Collective"p. 187
The Revolutionary Potential of the Third World Strikep. 207
"A Community-Oriented Academic Unit"p. 214
The Birth of Asian American Studiesp. 225
"An Advocate for the Students"p. 230
Counselor, Instructor, Administratorp. 254
"At Least I Was There"p. 258
A Rebirth in Activismp. 272
Epilogue: Reflecting on a Movement Iconp. 275
Acknowledgmentsp. 295
Notesp. 299
Bibliographyp. 399
Indexp. 427
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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