Friedman Program Winners
The Fannie Kenin Friedman Japanese-American Studies Summer Research Grant seeks to promote the study of Japanese American history, literature, society or similar topics specifically relevant to Americans of Japanese descent.
2017: Isaiah Silvers
I will investigate how the history of Japanese Americans working in Portland, Oregon during the 1930s either mirrors or challenges the nearly triumphal narratives of unionism and the Japanese American community in Hawai’i and Seattle which assert the unique inclusiveness of certain places and certain organizations. This period was particularly fraught both for Japanese Americans and for workers on the west coast in general. In Oregon during the 1920s and 1930s, anti-union forces and anti-Japanese forces were often one and the same. The Ku Klux Klan and the American Legion targeted labor groups like the IWW as well as incoming Japanese immigrants. Meanwhile, the Great Depression reached its peak, industrial unions continued to organize and consolidate, notably into the Congress of Industrial Organizations, and the first large generation of nisei (second generation Japanese immigrants) were growing to adulthood. In addition to industrial labor, organizations of Japanese barbers, grocers, launderers, and other urban professionals figured prominently in Portland.