The first biography of Asian American activist & 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 & 70s. His life story exposes the personal side of political activism as it illuminates the history of ethnic nationalism & radical internationalism in America.
A reflection of this interconnection, Samurai among Panthers weaves together two narratives: Aokis dramatic first-person story & an interpretive history by a leading scholar of the Asian American Movement, Diane C. Fujino. Aokis 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 & his fathers illegal activities shaped the development of Aokis politics. Fujino situates his life within the context of 20th-century historyWWII, the Cold War, & the protests of the 60s. She demonstrates how activism is both an accidental & an intentional endeavor, as well as how a militant activist practice can also promote participatory democracy and social service.