From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial That Galvanized the Asian American Movement
America in 1982: Japanese car companies are on the rise and believed to be putting U.S. autoworkers out of their jobs. Anti-Asian American sentiment simmers, especially in Detroit. A bar fight turns fatal, leaving a Chinese American man, Vincent Chin, beaten to death at the hands of two white men, autoworker Ronald Ebens and his stepson, Michael Nitz. Paula Yoo has crafted a searing, extensively researched examination of the killing and the trial and verdicts that followed. When Ebens and Nitz pled guilty to manslaughter and received only a $3,000 fine and three years’ probation, the lenient sentence sparked outrage. The protests that followed led to a federal civil rights trial — the first involving a crime against an Asian American — and galvanized what came to be known as the Asian American movement.