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Distinguished Asian American Political and Governmental Leaders
     

Distinguished Asian American Political and Governmental Leaders

by Don T. Nakanishi
 

Asian Americans have made countless distinguished contributions to American society. Like other American racial minorities who have historically been denied opportunities within the American electoral system, Asian Americans have worked steadily to participate in U.S. politics and its judicial system. Asian Americans have a long history of seeking social justice

Overview

Asian Americans have made countless distinguished contributions to American society. Like other American racial minorities who have historically been denied opportunities within the American electoral system, Asian Americans have worked steadily to participate in U.S. politics and its judicial system. Asian Americans have a long history of seeking social justice and equal treatment by challenging discriminatory laws and practices in education, employment, housing, land ownership, immigration, and other significant public-policy- issue areas. Distinguished Asian American Political and Governmental Leaders is the first-ever compilation of biographies of Asian American elected officials, major political appointees, judges, and activists. It provides information on the life histories and political accomplishments of 96 Asian Americans, who have participated in political, judicial, and civil rights arenas of this nation from 1950 to the present.

Most of the distinguished Americans profiled in this important resource were trailblazers, being the first Asian American or the first of a particular Asian ethnic community, for example, Vietnamese Americans, to be elected or appointed to a leadership position. The late Dalip Singh Saund, for example, became the first Asian American and the first Indo-American ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives when voters in Imperial and Riverside counties in Southern California elected him in 1957. Elaine Chao was the first Asian American and Chinese American woman appointed to a presidential cabinet post when President George W. Bush nominated her to be the U.S. Secretary of Labor in 2001. And the late John Aiso became the first Japanese American, as well as Asian American, judge in California when he was appointed in 1953. In selecting the leaders for this book, the authors have provided a glimpse of the diversity of electoral and nonelectoral forms of political participation and representation that Asian Americans have pursued. Included are biographies on each Asian American who has served or is serving as a state governor (Ariyoshi, Cayetano, Locke, Waihee); other statewide elected office (Eu, Fong, Hirono, Kealoha, King, Lau, Woo); the U.S. Senate (Akaka, Fong, Hayakawa, Inouye, Matsunaga); the U.S. House of Representatives (Faleomavaega, Kim, Matsui, Mineta, Mink, Saiki, Saund, Wu); and as a presidential cabinet member (Chao, Mineta). The authors have also provided a cross-section of 45 Asian American elected officials at the municipal and state levels for 12 states from Alaska to Massachusetts and from Minnesota to Texas. Among them are the first Cambodian, Hmong, and Vietnamese American elected officials, as well as some of the longest-serving Asian Americans, such as Harry Lee, who has been continuously re-elected as Sheriff of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, since 1979. Also profiled are Asian Americans who have played major leadership roles in nonelectoral political pursuits, such as Yuri Kochiyama, Philip Vera Cruz, and Angela Oh, who have made significant contributions in the areas of human rights, union organizing, and race relations.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-The 96 individuals profiled here include political activists and labor leaders, mayors and city/county officials, state and federal legislators, governors, justices, and ambassadors who have served since 1950. Each entry includes birth, education, positions held, awards/honors, and a summation of the individual's early years and education, and career highlights. Most entries are two to three pages of double-column text, and each one lists sources. Most include an average-quality, black-and-white photograph. An excellent introduction provides context and background. It notes, for example, that discriminatory laws kept early immigrants from voting and prohibited them from fully participating in all aspects of citizenship. Philip Vera Cruz, a high-ranking Filipino official with the United Farm Workers; Dalip Singh Saund, the first Asian Pacific American Congressman; Chanrithy Uong, a city councilman for Lowell, MA; and Satveer Chaudhary, the first Asian Indian elected to the Minnesota state legislature, are among the people included. Though most of the individuals hail from the West Coast and Hawaii, 12 states are represented. The writing is clear and concise, if somewhat dry. Similar to Hyung-chan Kim's Distinguished Asian Americans (Greenwood, 1999), this work is more up-to-date and more narrowly focused. A well-organized and timely volume.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781573563253
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
11/30/2002
Series:
Distinguished Asian Americans Series
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.56(d)
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

Meet the Author

DON T. NAKANISHI is the director of the Asian American Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, and co-editor of the National Asian Pacific Almanac and Directory.

ELLEN D. WU is an independent scholar.

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