Richard Aoki And The Black Power Movements

2018 words - 8 pages

An individual who was developed from the black power movements, was Richard Aoki, a third generation Japanese American. He had spent time living in the internment camps as a child during the second world war. When he grew up, he became one of the founding members of the Black Panther Party, and the only Asian American to have held a formal leadership position as "Field Marshall". He worked in the Black Panther party by arming them with weapons and training them in firearm usage. He continued his work by helping lead the Third World Liberation Front strike at Berkeley in 1969. This demonstration was to draw together the experiences of the oppression that third world minorities had experienced throughout their colonization period, from the United States. Experiences such as genocide of native Americans, enslavement of Africans, colonization of Chicanos, and the Asian immigration exclusion acts. The movements were created in order to achieve independence and demanded political power for those third world minorities who were had been, and were still being oppressed. They employed tactics such as, "informational picketing, blocking of campus entrances, mass rallies and teach-ins. Popular support was often met with repression in the form of police arrests, teargas and campus disciplinary actions." This impactful demonstration led to a large number of Asian American students, to become involved in community based organizing efforts, to increase awareness and strength for the Asian American movements. These students worked to produce vital means in which they were able to attain more information on their roots and the struggles that their ancestors had gone through. By fighting to create college curriculums that represented their histories, they demonstrated not only their ability to create change within the system, but their desire to retain their yellow identity.
The college community was also changed with subsequent actions by students influenced by the rising awareness for Asian American identity and desire for the lost culture. By 1970, there was a drastic spike in campus community groups with the word "Asian American" in their name. They began to create a clear break from the word "Oriental" and align themselves with a dignified label. This new term of "Asian American" symbolized that a new social and political mindset was sweeping through the communities of ethnic minorities in the United States. Students continued to protest for further development of ethnic studies programs during this time, by designing the programs themselves, in addition to selecting the faculty to overlook and teach the courses.
Another ethnic minority that created The Chicano Civil Rights Movement during the 1960's, set forth to attain Mexican American empowerment. In this platform as well, the African American Civil Rights Movement had an influential role in setting the cogs in motion. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the main, if not the most important figure for the...

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