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Drawing from a broad range of articles, speeches, short stories, pamphlets, sermons, debates, laws, public statements, Supreme Court decisions and conventions, this documentary history demonstrates the persistence of a humanist, if not an anti-racist, pulse in American society in the face of discriminatory government policy and prevalent anti-Asian ideology and treatment. Focusing on support for the rights of Japanese and Chinese immigrants and their descendants, the book traces a 130-year period, culminating with the governmental redress for survivors of the Japanese evacuation and internment during WWII. Foner and Rosenberg highlight expressions from the clergy, the labor movement, the abolitionists, and public figures such as Wendell Phillips, Charles Sumner, Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, John Stuart Mill, Norman Thomas and Carey McWilliams. It includes material never before published showing Black support for Asian rights and demonstrates the consistency of the Industrial Worker of the World's solidarity with Chinese and Japanese-American workers. It is also the first work to give serious treatment to clergymen's efforts against anti-Asian discrimination.
After the introduction, Foner discusses law and dissent. The next four sections are devoted to statements by public figures, the views of the clergy, the labor movement and African-Americans. The final section covers relocation and protest. The book provides a valuable contribution to the debates on American dissent in general and against racism in particular, the meaning of American nationality, the criminality of the evacuation and internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the immigration policies of the United States government.