Asian American History
- This year marks the 80th anniversary of former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s authorization of Executive Order 9066 in February 1942, which forced Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans into incarceration camps across the U.S.
- The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles held a ceremony to unveil the first-ever complete list of Japanese internees on Sept. 24.
- The list, which covers 125,284 internees held in 75 locations, filled a large book weighing 25 pounds.
- The book is named the Ireichō, which translates to “record of consoling ancestors” in Japanese.
- Survivors, descendants and friends placed stamps next to the names of their loved ones in the book to pay tribute.
The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles held a ceremony to unveil the first-ever complete list of more than 120,000 people of Japanese descent who were held in incarceration camps in the U.S. during World War II.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s authorization of Executive Order 9066 in February 1942 following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. As a result of the order, authorities forced Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans into incarceration camps across the U.S.
- Denise Khor, associate professor of Asian American and visual studies at Northeastern University, has been tasked to preserve a 108-year-old Japanese American silent film thought to be lost in the archives of a museum in New York.
- The only surviving copy of the 1914 silent film “The Oath of the Sword” was reportedly tucked away in the archives of the Rochester-based museum.
- Khor, in partnership with George Eastman Museum and the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, received a grant in 2021 from the National Film Preservation Foundation to preserve “The Oath of the Sword.”
- Khor said representation in the film is reminiscent of representation we see in the media today.
A Northeastern University professor has been tasked to preserve a 108-year-old Japanese American silent film thought to be lost in the archives of a museum in New York.
Denise Khor, associate professor of Asian American and visual studies at Northeastern University, received an email about the film from George Eastman Museum while doing research for her book “Transpacific Convergences: Race, Migration, and Japanese American Film Culture before World War II” in 2016.
- Photos in an album discovered by a Minnesota pawn shop owner previously believed to have been taken during the 1937 Nanjing Massacre have been debunked.
- Evan Kail, the owner of St. Louis Park Gold & Silver who goes by “Pawn Man” online, posted a video of the album to TikTok that went viral overnight, garnering over 30 million views and attracting international attention for what many believed was a major historical revelation.
- “Because of these trolls, particularly this one assclown, nobody will go near this thing now,” Kail claims in a video update posted to his YouTube channel. “I can’t get anybody to f*cking check it out. Every person in Minnesota I had lined up who had some kind of credential ghosted me. They want nothing to do with this because of the controversy.” They don’t want their name anywhere near it.”
- In an interview with The New Yorker, Timothy Brook, a professor specializing in Chinese history during the Japanese occupation, inspected photographs provided by Kail and determined that “as far as I can tell, none of these photographs are from Nanjing.”
- It was revealed that the photos Kail believed originated from Nanjing — previously known as Nanking — were captioned “Nanking Road” in the album, which Kail had mistaken for the city when it actually refers to a street in Shanghai.
Photos discovered by a Minnesota pawn shop owner previously believed to have been taken during the 1937 Nanjing Massacre have been debunked.
Evan Kail, the owner of St. Louis Park Gold & Silver who goes by “Pawn Man” online, posted a video to TikTok on Aug. 31 claiming to have discovered long-lost photographs taken during the massacre which lasted for six weeks and saw at least 200,000 Chinese civilians killed by the Imperial Japanese Army. Kail’s video went viral overnight, garnering over 30 million views and attracting international attention for what many believed was a major historical revelation.
- The San Diego City Council officially apologized to the Japanese American community and passed a resolution that rescinded Resolution 76068 on Tuesday.
- “The Council of the City of San Diego apologizes to all people of Japanese ancestry for its past actions in support of the unjust exclusion, removal, and incarceration of Japanese Americas [sic] and residents of Japanese ancestry during World War II, and for its failure to support and defend the civil rights and civil liberties of these individuals during this period,” the apology read.
- Resolution 76068, which ordered the FBI to forcibly remove residents of Japanese descent from the county and transfer them to the 10 concentration camps in the western part of the U.S., came into effect after then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order No. 9066 (E.O. 9066) on Feb. 19, 1942.
- More than 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes and transferred to the concentration camps in the western U.S. and Arkansas weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. Among those were 1,900 San Diego residents of Japanese descent.
- “It is incredibly important that we identify the racist acts of the past and injustices of the past and address them head-on,” Council President Sean Elo-Rivera said. “We can acknowledge the wrong that the city committed.”
San Diego officially apologized and announced the revocation of a 1942 resolution that supported the incarceration of many Japanese Americans during World War II.
Council members on Tuesday acknowledged the city’s racist past when it imprisoned more than 1,900 San Diego County residents of Japanese descent in the concentration camps in the western United States and Arkansas during WWII.
- The National Lao-Hmong Memorial Foundation held an air show showcasing a restored T-28 airplane at Fleming Field in South Saint Paul, Minnesota, on Saturday.
- The design of a memorial, which will be built in a suburb of Denver, was also unveiled at the event.
- The event was held to honor Hmong soldiers who fought alongside the U.S. during the Vietnam War.
- From 1960 to 1975, the CIA recruited Hmong people to fight in a “Secret War” in Laos, during which more than 35,000 Hmong soldiers were killed.
The National Lao-Hmong Memorial Foundation restored a T-28 warplane and revealed the design of a memorial to honor Hmong soldiers who fought alongside the U.S. during the Vietnam War.
From 1960 to 1975, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recruited Hmong people to fight in a “Secret War” in Laos. Hmong pilots were trained to fly T-28 airplanes and tasked with as many as 10 missions a day.
- The Verona Area School District Board of Education in Wisconsin unanimously approved a resolution on Monday expressing support for the Hmong, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
- The resolution also calls for the integration of Hmong and AAPI history and culture into the district’s school curriculum.
- English teacher Kabby Hong and VASD Asian American Student Association co-President Angela Miller attended the board meeting and spoke in support of the AAPI resolution, urging board members to approve the measure.
- It remains to be seen if other districts in the state will follow.
- There are currently four states — Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island — that have passed legislation to require schools to teach AAPI history.
A school board in Wisconsin is calling for the integration of the Hmong and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community culture and history into the curriculum.
On Monday, the Verona Area School District Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution in support of the community, becoming the first in the state to do so.
‘Why is the story still unknown?’: ‘Free Chol Soo Lee’ co-directors refuse to let America forget Korean American wrongfully convicted of murder in 1973
Julie Ha and Eugene Yi’s six-year journey to illuminate the life and legacy of Chol Soo Lee, a Korean American man falsely convicted of murder, began at the end of his story.
While Ha first learned of him through her mentor K.W. Lee, a journalist who played an instrumental role in raising awareness of the injustices that plagued the wrongly convicted man, she truly came to grips with the gravity of Chol Soo Lee’s situation at his funeral.
Meet 98-year-old George Woo, a last living member of the Flying Tigers’ Chinese American Composite Wing
Editor’s note: Edward Woo, one of George Woo’s children, spoke on behalf of his father for this exclusive interview with NextShark.
On the Fourth of July in 1942 — nearly seven months after Imperial Japan shocked Pearl Harbor — the first American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Republic of China Air Force, otherwise known as the Flying Tigers, disbanded.
- Hundreds of people gathered at the memorial service for Im Ja Choi, a celebrated advocate for Asian American seniors, at the Evergreen Center in Pennsylvania on Saturday.
- Choi, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019, died at a hospital in South Korea on June 22.
- She moved to the United States from Seoul in 1971 and struggled to find a home health aide in the country for her sickly mother, who did not eat American food or know how to communicate in English.
- Channeling that experience and recounting stories from several caregivers, Choi founded PASSi in 2004, providing home health aides to Asian seniors in almost two dozen languages.
- “She was always looking for ways to make an impact on the community. But if there was anything we needed, she made it happen,” Choi’s daughter, Sara, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Helping others was her calling.”
- In addition to PASSi, Choi started an adult daycare center for immigrants, a vocational school for entry-level Asian healthcare workers and a senior community center.
Hundreds of people gathered at a memorial service in Pennsylvania on Saturday to celebrate the life of Im Ja Choi, an advocate for Asian American seniors who died from lung cancer last month at the age of 73.
Choi, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2019, died at a hospital in South Korea on June 22. Ken Yang, the CEO of Penn Asian Senior Services, the organization Choi founded in 2004, confirmed the news of her death in a recent statement.
Biden awards Medal of Honor to previously overlooked Vietnam War vets, including two Asian Americans
- On Tuesday, President Joe Biden awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor to a group of Vietnam War veterans, including two Asian Americans, who may have been overlooked due to discrimination.
- The highest U.S. military award was given to Staff Sgt. Edward N. Kaneshiro, Spc. 5 Dennis M. Fujii, Spc. 5 Dwight W. Birdwell and retired Maj. John J. Duffy.
- “Today we’re setting the record straight,” Biden said during the ceremony. “We’re upgrading the awards of four soldiers who performed acts of incredible heroism during the Vietnam conflict.”
- The awarding comes after Congress ordered a review into the military service of Asian Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders left unrecognized because of prejudice.
President Joe Biden awarded the Medal of Honor to a group of Vietnam War veterans, including two Asian Americans, who may have been overlooked due to discrimination.
On Tuesday, Biden gave the highest U.S. military award to Staff Sgt. Edward N. Kaneshiro, Spc. 5 Dennis M. Fujii, Spc. 5 Dwight W. Birdwell and retired Maj. John J. Duffy.
Families of 11 Filipino WWII vets receive Congressional Gold Medal after 76-year wait for recognition
- The names of 11 Filipino World War II veterans were read and recognized at a ceremony held at the Filipino Community Center in Honolulu on Monday.
- Family members of the veterans received the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, one of America’s highest honors. The medal is said to honor the sacrifice of more than 260,000 Filipino soldiers who fought for America from 1941 to 1946 when the Philippines was a U.S. colony.
- The Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project has conferred about 3,000 medals since 2017. They are also working with schools to share the stories of Filipino American war heroes.
- Filipino advocates continue to fight for the benefits the veterans are entitled to, including compensation and citizenship.
The families of 11 Filipino World War II veterans were awarded with one of America’s highest honors to recognize the soldiers who fought for the nation more than 76 years ago.
The names of 11 Filipino World War II veterans were read and recognized at a ceremony held at the Filipino Community Center in Honolulu on Monday.
- President Joe Biden officially signed the “Commission To Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture Act” into law on Monday.
- “It's about time for a national museum to capture the courage, the character, the imagination and maybe, from my perspective, looking at it from a little bit from a distance, the dreams and the heart and the soul of the generations of our fellow Americans that came before you,” Biden said.
- Proposed by Rep. Grace Meng (D, NY-6) as a bill in Congress last year, the initiative will set up a commission dedicated to reviewing the potential costs of the proposed museum dedicated to the AAPI community.
- “I am ecstatic & overjoyed at this historic moment & honored & proud to have championed this crucial effort, especially after fighting for this legislation in Congress over the past 7 years. Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders have shaped our nation since its founding,” Meng wrote in a Twitter thread.
- Vice President Kamala Harris similarly highlighted the bill’s importance, noting that teaching AAPI history will “help all of us as Americans understand where we come from, and to teach this history is to help us understand who we are.”
On Monday, President Joe Biden officially signed a bill seeking to create a commission to study the feasibility of a museum dedicated to the AAPI community.
Upon signing the “Commission To Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture Act,” or H.R. 3525, into law, Biden proclaimed that generations of AAPI individuals “have literally shaped the history and the contours of this country.”