Asian American Women General

Draft of General Project Description and Selection Policy:

Asian American Women involved in the Movement in New York

This project will bring together the documentation of Asian American Women involved in the Movement in New York. Since the Movement is an ongoing struggle, I will focus the collection on the era with the years that people are most familiar with, the 1960’s and the 1970’s. The Movement is commonly referred to as the Civil Rights Movement; however, I choose to use the term Movement because it can more freely be associated with a period beyond just the 1960’s and 1970’s and with other movements. The Civil Rights Movement is often seen as a movement headed by African Americans living in the United States. In reality, there are many struggles for equality and justice that can be categorized within this Movement, including the Black Power movement, the Women’s Rights movement, and many others. As the Movement is one that happens all over the world, I will restrict this project to the greater New York City area. Although this project is defined by a specific racial group, gender, time, and location, it is my hope that this will become a stepping stone for other projects.

The idea of the project is to not only show the historical involvement of Asian American women, but to create a dialogue about why we use communities, such as “Asian American women” for a cause. Being an “Asian American woman,” “Asian,” “Asian American,” “woman,” or any other categorization is not a birthright, but a political act. People choose to use these categorize themselves and relate to other people whom they think believe in the same thing. Just as the Black Power movement was to unite a group of people based on ethnicity, Asian American women also used their identities to unite as a group. Some of these women, such as Yuri Kochiyama, fought along with Malcolm X for Black Power. Other women, such as Tung Pok Chin fought for workers rights. This project also becomes a site for dialogue of what counts for activism and how activism can be defined.

On a practical level, this project can be used by middle school students, high school students, college students, or any of the general public to look for materials on the Civil Rights Movement beyond what they read in textbooks. Instead of believing that the Civil Rights Movement is a “Black vs. White” issue that died in the 70’s, these users can now see that the Movement is a movement of all people that continues on today in different forms. The project would also deconstruct any stereotypes of Asian American women, including ones that seem them as docile or weak.

I will choose materials based on access to the materials and also whether or not the items fall within the mission of providing a broad scope of examples of the ways in which Asian American women were involved in the Civil Rights Movement. The collections that I will choose materials from include: Asian Women United Records, Wing Fong Chin and Tung Pok Chin Papers, Asian Garment Workers in New York City Oral History Collection, I. Kida Papers, Yuri Kochiyama papers, Kazu Iijima papers, and other materials. These collections include the works of Tung Pok Chin, Emi Kida, Yuri Kochiyama, and Kazu Iijima. While these are not the only Asian American women who were involved in the movement, they are often identified as some of the most well-known. In order to identify the items that should be made available online in this collection, I will work with the repositories, scholars, as well as community members to identify the key items in each collection. Some of these repositories include NYU Tamiment and Wagner Labor Archives and the UCLA Center for Asian American Studies. Some of the possible scholars include Diane C. Fujino, Elaine Kim, and Angel Shaw. Using a blend of these three groups will help to create a community archive for the people by the people.

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License