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Reinventing Citizenship

Black Los Angeles, Korean Kawasaki, and Community Participation

Kazuyo Tsuchiya

Publication Year: 2014

In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States and Japan went through massive welfare expansions that sparked debates about citizenship. At the heart of these disputes stood African Americans and Koreans. Reinventing Citizenship offers a comparative study of African American welfare activism in Los Angeles and Koreans’ campaigns for welfare rights in Kawasaki. In working-class and poor neighborhoods in both locations, African Americans and Koreans sought not only to be recognized as citizens but also to become legitimate constituting members of communities.

Local activists in Los Angeles and Kawasaki ardently challenged the welfare institutions. By creating opposition movements and voicing alternative visions of citizenship, African American leaders, Tsuchiya argues, turned Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty into a battle for equality. Koreans countered the city’s and the nation’s exclusionary policies and asserted their welfare rights. Tsuchiya’s work exemplifies transnational antiracist networking, showing how black religious leaders traveled to Japan to meet Christian Korean activists and to provide counsel for their own struggles.

Reinventing Citizenship reveals how race and citizenship transform as they cross countries and continents. By documenting the interconnected histories of African Americans and Koreans in Japan, Tsuchiya enables us to rethink present ideas of community and belonging.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Series: Critical American Studies

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright Page,

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction: Los Angeles and Kawasaki as Arenas of Struggle over Citizenship

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pp. 1-14

On April 3, 1966, three hundred fifty people gathered to protest the dismissal of African American social worker and activist Opal C. Jones from her position as the executive director of the Neighborhood Adult Participation Project (NAPP), one of the most popular and influential antipoverty programs in Los Angeles.1 Th roughout the operation of its programs, NAPP aimed at providing training and employment ...

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1. Between Inclusion and Exclusion: The Origins of the U.S. Community Action Program

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pp. 15-42

Chapter 1 examines the ways in which the Community Action Program (CAP) and its doctrine of “maximum feasible participation” of the poor emerged. It analyzes how the goals of CAP have changed over time, up until the 1964 passage of the Economic Opportunity Act.1 At that time the War on Poverty became an apparatus for transforming the poor into productive and participatory citizens for the sake of the development of economic...

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2. Fostering Community and Nationhood: Japan’s Model Community Program

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pp. 43-58

I now introduce the case of Japan and analyze the ways in which the participatory schemes produced diff erent results when transplanted to Japan. In response to the ascendancy of residents’ movements and oppositional left - wing parties, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)- controlled national government created the Model Community Program...

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3. Struggling for Political Voice: Race and the Politics of Welfare in Los Angeles

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pp. 59-80

Through a case study of the War on Poverty in Los Angeles, I investigate how African American leaders forcefully challenged city government and voiced alternative visions of citizenship in the 1960s.1 During this time, black middle-class leaders transformed the War on Poverty programs, especially the Community Action Program, into a signifi cant channel through which new political opportunities could be pursued. These efforts resulted in a ...

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4. Recasting the Community Action Program: The Pursuit of Race, Class, and Gender Equality in Los Angeles

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pp. 81-116

With the establishment of the Economic and Youth Opportunities Agency of Greater Los Angeles (EYOA), the War on Poverty officially began. In this chapter, I examine how local activists in South Central Los Angeles turned the concept of “maximum feasible participation” into a weapon in the battle for welfare rights. Th ey forcefully challenged the official local/federal...

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5. Translating Black Theology into Korean Activism: The Hitachi Employment Discrimination Trial

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pp. 117-138

In chapters 5 and 6, I shed light on the struggles of the new generation of zainichi Koreans in the 1970s and early 1980s and the impact of their activism on the reorganization of citizenship. Th rough this examination of Kawasaki, with a special focus on the movement led by Korean churches and the Seikyusha organization, I investigate how Korean residents challenged...

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6. Voicing Alternative Visions of Citizenship: The “Kawasaki System” of Welfare

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pp. 139-162

The Kawasaki Koreans’ struggles over citizenship signaled a new phase after the Hitachi Employment Discrimination Trial. Kawasaki Koreans expanded their activism by establishing a welfare foundation named Seikyusha (Seikyu refers to the Korean Peninsula) and developing the Sakuramoto School (Sakuramoto Gakuen), which supported its graduates....

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Conclusion: The Interconnectedness of Oppression and Freedom

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pp. 163-170

Despite the divergent directions, strategies, and outcomes of discourses on community and citizenship in the Community Action Program and the Model Community Program, comparable frameworks have offered an opportunity to see some parallels. Both CAP and the MCP were political responses to perceived national “crises” brought about by social movements...

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pp. 171-174

During the course of this project, so many people have nurtured both me and my work. I would like to begin by expressing my deepest gratitude to those who generously offered me the opportunity to talk to them despite their busy schedules. Bae Joong Do, Choi Seungkoo, James H. Cone the late Mary B. Henry, I Son Jon, the late Tommy Jacquette, Kajiwara Hisashi ...


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pp. 175-224


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pp. 225-256


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pp. 257-273

About the Author

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p. 274-274

E-ISBN-13: 9781452940847
E-ISBN-10: 1452940843
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816681129

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Critical American Studies