Our Place in History

Ten Milestones in the Fight for Asian American Rights

A long overdue counternarrative to the story of Asian Americans as passive participants in the American story

“We fought back against unfairness, discrimination, and violence, and in the process we have vindicated legal rights and remedies that have benefited everyone.” —Phil Tajitsu Nash

Interest in Asian American issues and the place of Asian Americans in U.S. history has surged in recent years, from debates over affirmative action to terrifying episodes of anti-Asian violence. Yet, in part because of enduring racist stereotypes and the idea of Asian Americans as a model minority, Asian American communities are frequently portrayed as apolitical and passive—and their deeper history remains obscured.

In Our Place in History, celebrated attorney, educator, and founding director of the Asian American Justice Center Phil Tajitsu Nash offers an important counternarrative to this myth, foregrounding the history of Asian American activism in a way few other books have done. Nash focuses on ten stirring and emblematic episodes over the past fifty years where Asian Americans rose up to defend their rights, challenge discrimination, and join with others to build a more just world—from the movement for reparations for the World War II–era internment of Japanese Americans to the push to foreground class economics and working rights, and the recent struggle against anti-Asian violence.

As Asian Americans and their allies push for Asian American history in curricula across the country, Our Place in History provides a readable, authoritative guide to the impact made by Asian Americans—bringing them from the margin to the mainstream of American history.

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