This article examines the political mobilization of Japanese Americans by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) against the 1969 firing of Los Angeles County Coroner Thomas Noguchi. By challenging the racism in the Noguchi case, the JACL opened a public discussion of the racism behind wartime incarceration, rejecting the quiescence that had marked Japanese Americans as the “model minority.” Activism in the Noguchi case proved the potential of grassroots organizing and built experience in forming cross-racial political alliances, effectively shaping political narrative in the media, and exercising clout in city politics. For Japanese Americans and the JACL, these experiences shaped a new political sensibility that underscored civil rights and served as a precursor to the later redress movement.
The Japanese American Citizens League, Los Angeles Politics, and the Thomas Noguchi Case
Anne Soon Choi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is currently completing a manuscript on the suburbanization and the postwar migration of Japanese Americans from Hawai‘i to Southern California.
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Anne Soon Choi; The Japanese American Citizens League, Los Angeles Politics, and the Thomas Noguchi Case. Southern California Quarterly 7 May 2020; 102 (2): 158–192. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/scq.2020.102.2.158
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