Thursday, May 19 1921: Civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama was born

1921 (Taisho 10) Thursday, May 19 Civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama was born in San Pedro, California. Her father is Seiichi Nakahara, a fish merchant who immigrated from Japan, and her mother is Tsuyako Sawaguchi Nakahara, a piano teacher who graduated from university. The family was relatively wealthy, and Yuri grew up in an area with a lot of white people. However, when the Pacific War started, the family was detained for the incarceration of Japanese-Americans, and their lives changed completely. He loses his father, Seiichi, in custody. In 1946, she married Bill Kochiyama, a second-generation Japanese-American military man whom she met during her detention, and had 6 children.

In 1960, the family moved to Harlem, New York, where they met Malcolm X. She joined Malcolm X’s Organization for African American Unity, and she began to work with him. And on February 21, 1965, she witnessed at close range the assassination of Malcolm X at the Audubon Dance Theatre in Washington Heights, New York City. A photograph of a lily holding a dying Malcolm X in her arm was published in the magazine LIFE. He continued his civil rights activities and died in 2014 at the age of 93.

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