New Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress eBook

August 16, 2018

Like similar volumes such as “Women in Congress” and “Hispanic Americans in Congress”, “Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress 1900-2017” continues the successful historical analysis on minority groups in the legislative branch of the Federal government.  As stated in the title, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans have been members of Congress dating back to the 1900s. This diversity has had a positive effect on the lawmaking system in the United States.

It took many years for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans to gain any real power in Congress, and World War II was a turning point for many people.  The U.S. held hundreds of Japanese in internment camps following the attack on Pearl Harbor, and resentment between the two sides festered as the war raged on.  This had consequences for Asian and Pacific Islanders in the Philippines and Guam, who originally were protected by the U.S., but eventually experienced the negative effects of the war.  Still, some saw this as a chance to prove they belonged in the United States just as much as anyone.  One of the biggest achievements for Asian and Pacific Islanders was Hawaii, which became an official U.S. State in 1959.

There are many notable Asian and Pacific Islander Americans mentioned throughout this book; Patsy Takemoto Mink, who became the first woman of color elected to Congress in 1964, and Dalip Saund the first Asian and Pacific Islander American elected to Congress with full voting rights in 1956.  The book gives a comprehensive overview on the history of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress that have helped shape the country over the last century.  This is especially important because this is one of the strong points in the U.S. legislative system, because American citizens value that their voices are being heard.  Promoting people of all backgrounds to be a part of the law making process allows the people to feel represented.

Overall this book is extremely informative, and it was enjoyable to learn all about how Asian and Pacific Islander Americans have become such key players in the U.S. Congress.

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About the author: Blogger contributor Nicholas LaPorte is an intern in GPO’s Publication and Information Sales office.


Family, Patriotism & Sacrifice

May 4, 2016

May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and May 8th is the 71st anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day).  If there ever was a good opportunity to talk about a Japanese-American family’s experience during World War II, it would be right now, in this blog post. The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) and author Matthew Elms retell the saga of three brothers who nobly fought alongside one another in World War II.

052-088-00001-1When the Akimotos Went to War: An Untold Story of Family, Patriotism and Sacrifice During World War II

Hardworking and California-bred, brothers Victor, Johnny, and Ted Akimoto grew up with the sparkle of the American dream in their eyes. Then the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor happened. It got under their skin and into their heads. One by one, they joined the fight.

Victor, the eldest brother and first to enlist, reported to duty in frosty Fort Warren, Wyoming. He eschewed anti-Japanese hysteria and sent cheering letters to his devoted family. Despite stacked odds, Victor was eventually promoted to infantryman. Younger brothers Johnny and Ted soon joined him in the 100th Infantry Battalion, a mostly first generation Japanese-American, or Nisei, unit.

Victor (left) and Johnny Akimoto (right) at camp Shelby, 1943 (Akimoto Family Collection)

Victor (left) and Johnny Akimoto (right) at camp Shelby, 1943 (Akimoto Family Collection)

The Akimoto clan battled two enemies: the Axis Powers and racial tension. Suspicion of Japanese-Americans grew. When the government froze the family bank accounts, they lived off remittances from their soldier-sons. Then they were forcibly confined to internment camps around the country. The family was split up but not beaten. They remained resolute in the hope that if men like their Victor, Johnny, and Ted “could serve bravely in the armed forces, then perhaps America would finally move beyond seeing people of Asian descent as a different people, a different race, and just see them as patriotic Americans.”

Ted Akimoto, c. 1945 (Akimoto Family Collection)

Ted Akimoto, c. 1945 (Akimoto Family Collection)

On the fields of Europe and in military camps, three brothers gave themselves to “the greatest cause a man can give his life for,” as Victor wrote in a letter to his family. While their family sat in internment camps, the brothers ducked the whoosh of artillery. Pinned in by Germans on all sides, they steered their G.I. brethren to safety. In the face of crushing loss, as Ted wrote, “no matter what the cost, we have to make this world a better place.”

The Akimotos lived out the belief that there is no more important role than citizen, no more important act than service.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


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