Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama

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U of Minnesota Press, 2005 - Social Science - 396 pages
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On February 12, 1965, in the Audubon Ballroom, Yuri Kochiyama cradled Malcolm X in her arms as he died, but her role as a public servant and activist began much earlier than this pivotal public moment. Heartbeat of Struggle is the first biography of this courageous woman, the most prominent Asian American activist to emerge during the 1960s. Based on extensive archival research and interviews with Kochiyama's family, friends, and the subject herself, Diane C. Fujino traces Kochiyama's life from an "all-American" childhood to her achievements as a tireless defender of - and fighter for - human rights. Raised by a Japanese immigrant family in California during the 1920s and 1930s, Kochiyama was active in sports, school, and church. She was both unquestioningly patriotic and largely unconscious of race and racism in the United States. After Pearl Harbor, however, Kochiyama's family was among the thousands of Japanese Americans forcibly removed to internment camps for the duration of the war, a traumatic experience that opened her eyes to the existence of social injustice. After the war, Kochiyama moved to New York. It was in the context of the vibrant Black movement in Harlem in the 1960s that she began her activist career. There, she met Malcolm X, who inspired her radical political development and the ensuing four decades of incessant work for Black liberation, Asian American equality, Puerto Rican independence, and political prisoner defense. Kochiyama is widely respected for her work in forging unity among diverse communities, especially between Asian and African Americans. Fujino, a scholar and activist, offers an in-depth examination of Kochiyama's political awakening, rich life, and impressive achievements with particular attention to how her public role so often defied gender, racial, and cultural norms. Heartbeat of Struggle is a source of inspiration and guidance for anyone committed to social change.

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I have NO IDEA, what kind of disrespectful and unprofessional person wrote this summary. However, Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21 1965, NOT February 12 1965. Yuri had nothing but love and respect for Malcolm X, and she would have never wanted the assassination of her dear friend to be misrepresented like this. You should be ashamed of yourself for making this kind of horrible and disrespectful mistake. How dare you!!!!! 

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It is rare when one can overlook and overcome the pressure to stay in their place and work on behalf of what is right and correct. Yuri Kochiyama was such a courage being. Her existence and example is a lesson for those who feel social activism is more rewarding than social accommodation.


A ColorBlind Patriot in Prewar America
Concentration Camps and a Growing
New York New Life
Plunging into Civil Rights
Meeting Malcolm X
Transformation of a Revolutionary Nationalist
Political Prisoners and the Heartbeat
Asian Americans and the Rise
The Most Incessant Activist

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About the author (2005)

Diane C. Fujino is associate professor of Asian American studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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