Japanese-American Activist Who Helped Win Internment Reparations Dies at 93

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 4 2014 2:00 PM

Japanese-American Activist Who Helped Win Reparations, Witnessed Malcolm X Shooting Dies at 93

screen_shot_20140604_at_1.48.37_pm
From Life magazine in 1965.

Life magazine via Time

A 93-year-old activist named Yuri Kochiyama died this week in Oakland after an epic life that included several years in a Japanese internment camp and involvement, 40 years later, in a successful campaign to compensate victims of those camps.

Kochiyama, born in California, became an activist after being held in Arkansas during WWII. From the Los Angeles Times:

She married a Japanese American GI she had met during the war and in 1960 moved with him to Harlem, where she raised a large family and joined her poor black and Puerto Rican neighbors to fight for better schools and safer streets.
Radicalized by her association with Malcolm X, the fiery Nation of Islam leader, Kochiyama plunged into campaigns for Puerto Rican independence, nuclear disarmament and reparations for Japanese American internees.
Advertisement

The campaign for reparations was successful, with $20,000 awarded to survivors by a law signed by Ronald Reagan in 1988. (The idea of reparations has been in the news recently thanks to an Atlantic article that made the case for compensating black Americans.) But that was just one chapter in Kochiyama's career as a New York radical—during which she also witnessed the assasination of Malcolm X, rushing to his side seconds after he'd been fatally shot. Read more about Kochiyama’s life here.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

There Are New Abuse Allegations Against Adrian Peterson

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

John Oliver Pleads for Scotland to Stay With the U.K.

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Jurisprudence

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police

The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 1:51 PM Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.