History: Midori Shimanouchi Lederer (1923-2005) was the founder of Japanese American Social Services, Inc. (JASSI), a social services agency for New York’s elderly Japanese and Japanese American residents. Born and raised in Fresno, California, Lederer was a student at the University of California, Berkeley, when she and her family were forcibly removed from their home and incarcerated at the Topaz War Relocation Center, a concentration camp, in 1942. Her 1943 appeal to the US government granted her permission to leave Topaz and resume her studies at Pace College in New York. While living in New York she became involved in the film and publicity industries. In 1952 she became the secretary of renowned film producer Michael Todd and served as his production assistant. She later joined Bill Doll and Company, a top New York-based firm of press agents in 1960 and eventually rose to partner and vice president.
Survey Conducted: Tue, 2010-09-14
Creator: Yuzawa, George
History: George Katsumi Yuzawa was born in Los Angeles, California on February 21, 1915. George’s immigrant parents named their Nisei son after the first president of their adopted country, George Washington (whose birthday was a day later on February 22). His parents, Tamasaburo “James” and Bun “Mary” Yuzawa, immigrated to the United States from Nagano, Japan. In 1917, James Yuzawa established the Vermont Flower Shop in downtown Los Angeles near the University of Southern California campus. He served a term as president of the Southern California Floral Association. As a young man, George was a founding member of Boy Scout Troop 64 in Los Angeles and achieved the rank of Life Scout.
Date Range: 1938 – 1969
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2011-05-20
Creator: United Automobile Workers of America, District 65
History: District Council 65 of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) began as a group of Jewish laborers working in dry goods warehouses in the Lower East Side of New York City. The union became a local of the Wholesale Dry Goods Employees Union in 1935 before affiliating with the Distributive Trades Council of New York and the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Its affiliation with the UAW began in 1979. In later years, the union’s membership grew beyond the warehouse and retail workers to include white-collar workers in publishing and universities. The union remained active until bankruptcy forced the union to close in 1994. Read more
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2008-10-24
Creator: Tamiment Library
History: The Oral History of the American Left (OHAL) project was started in 1976 by the Tamiment Library at New York University. The purpose of this project was to expand the archive of American labor and radicalism through the creation of “living documents;” the memories of veteran activists. After receiving major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1982, the project conducted a sweeping oral history of ethnic-immigrant radicalism, its press and fraternal organizations. The NEH grant also enabled OHAL to collect hundreds of hours of interviews made by filmmakers on American anarchism, the Hollywood blacklist, the Communist Party, the Columbia University student strike of 1968, and other subjects. Read more
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2011-05-06
Creator: Sumei Multidisciplinary Center
History: Founded in 1993 by a group of artists, musicians, and writers, the Sumei Multidisciplinary Arts Center (permanently closed as of 2021) aims to support emerging and established artists through exhibitions, lectures, seminars, workshops, and residencies. Sumei serves as a platform for artists around the world to connect with communities in Newark, and provides educational programming and art workshops for elementary to college age youth throughout the area. The organization aims to be a space for community building and engagement through art, writing, video, and performance. Read more
Survey Conducted: Sat, 2008-11-15
Creator: Soh Daiko
History: Soh Daiko was founded in 1979 as the first taiko group on the East Coast. Originally formed by members of the New York Buddhist Church, the group now consists of members from diverse backgrounds and professions. Members receive instruction on drum building, basic taiko skills and philosophy from senior members and visiting expert drummers. The group currently operates as a collective in which decisions are made by consensus; however, the group structure allows for elected officers who serve in the capacities of Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary, Practice Committee, and Practice Leaders.
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2008-11-14
Creator: Sih, Neil
History: Neil Sih was a Chinese Communist who became active in the Trotskyist Left Opposition in China. Born as Liu Renjing, he took the pseudonym of Neil Sih, which he claimed was given to him by Leon Trotsky. As a member of the Left Opposition, Sih was a staunch opponent of Chen Dixiu, then the de facto leader of the movement, whom Sih may have seen as an obstacle to his own succession in party leadership. Critical of the ruling party of China, The Kuomintang, Sih was jailed and tortured. In March 1937, four months prior to his scheduled discharge, Sih was released from prison after aligning himself with the Kuomintang. As a result, he was expelled from the Left Opposition, and later joined the Publicity Section of the National Military Council of the Kuomintang.
Creator: Shaheen, Jack G. (1935-2017)
History: Born in 1935 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dr. Jack G. Shaheen dedicated his career to identifying and contesting damaging stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims in American media. A professor, author, and professional consultant for films such as Syriana and Three Kings, Shaheen, with the help of his wife Bernice Shaheen, collected and analyzed materials which depicted Arabs and Muslims as the godless “cultural other.” The result is the Jack G. Shaheen Archive.
Survey Conducted: Tue, 2011-12-13
Creator: Chin, Rocky
History: Rocky Chin is a civil rights attorney who has been an active community leader advocating for labor and human rights. An Asian American born in Washington D.C., Chin completed his BA at Lehigh University, his MA at Yale University, and his JD at the University of Southern California. As an attorney, Chin has represented marginalized groups including immigrant and working-class families. He is married to May Y. Chen, former vice president of UNITE HERE and a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA).
Survey Conducted: Thu, 2008-12-04
Creator: Nguyen, Bichiluyen
History: New York University undergraduate Bichiluyen Nguyen, a Vietnamese immigrant, conducted these interviews with New York City immigrant garment workers from Vietnam, China, the Philippines and California as part of an internship in the history department in 1989. Interviews were conducted mainly in English, but some were partially in the interviewees’ native language.
Summary: The collection consists of four interviews. Transcripts or indexes exist in English for all of the interviews. Interviews are with International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union members and staff, and one interview is with a garment manufacturer. Topics covered include emigration to the U.S., working conditions, joining the ILGWU, and major strikes.
Total Size: 5 cassette tapes
APA-related Size: 5 cassette tapes
Languages of materials: Chinese, English, and Vietnamese
Location: Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University
Bibliographic Control: inventory
Inventory Link: http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/oh_018/
Conditions Governing Access: Contact repository for detailed information on conditions governing access.