About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement

Greetings from the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to today’s virtual author lecture with Paula Yoo, author of From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry.

Before we begin, though, I’d like to tell you about two upcoming programs you can view on our YouTube channel.

On Thursday, April 22, at noon, we will have a special Earth Day program with Richard J. Lazarus, the author of The Rule of Five, a book that tells the story of the most important environmental law case ever decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

And on Tuesday, April 27, at 1 p.m., Joshua D. Rothman will tell us about his new book, The Ledger and the Chain, a study of America’s internal slave trade and its role in the making of America.

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Today, Paula Yoo brings us the story of Vincent Chin, who in 1982 was beaten to death because he was Asian American. When his two attackers were given lenient sentences, the outcry led to a federal civil rights trial—the first involving a crime against an Asian American.

Today, nearly 40 years later, Asian Americans are still targets of violence. Records in the National Archives document a long history of injustices and the persistent fight against them. Our author today used records from the National Archives at Chicago. Retrieving the stories contained in these records ensures that we do not forget past inequities and cannot overlook pivotal figures such as Vincent Chin.

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Paula Yoo is an author, screenwriter, and musician. Her Young Adult novel Good Enough, is an Honor Book of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Youth Literature. She is also the author of the picture book biographies Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story, Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story, and Twenty-two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank. As a television writer and producer, her credits range from NBC’s The West Wing to The CW’s Supergirl, and she is a former journalist with the Seattle Times, the Detroit News, and People Magazine. When she’s not writing, Paula is a professional freelance violinist who has played and toured with orchestras and national recording acts.

Now let’s hear from Paula Yoo. Thank you for joining us today.