On the evening of June 19, 1982, Vincent Chin was beaten in the middle of a street in Detroit, Michigan after going to a club for the evening. He was going to be married in a little over a week. Instead of people attending his wedding, they went to his funeral. The question is raised was Vincent killed because he was Asian? At this time in America, there was a lot of anti-Asian sentiment in part due to the fact that the United States car industry was beginning to face stiff competition from countries like Japan. Of course, the United States has had a long history of having racist tendencies toward immigrants and citizens of Asian ancestry, including going back to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act which was the first time the country put immigration limits on who could enter based on race.
For the first time, across America, Asian Americans were unified in wanting to make sure justice was served. However, there were many obstacles in the way to making this happen. The fact that Vincent Chin was of Chinese ancestry led the government beginning to question if Chin’s civil rights had been violated because of his race.
From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry by Paula Yoo is a remarkable book focusing on another Civil Rights movement in the United States and one that many probably have never heard about.
Recommended for grades 8 and up.