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

Longlist, National Book Awards 2021 for Young People's Literature

ISBN 9781324002871
Norton Young Readers / W. W. Norton & Company
Paula Yoo

Paula Yoo is a graduate of Yale and Columbia Universities and Warren Wilson College. Yoo is a former journalist who has worked for the Detroit NewsSeattle Times, and People; a screenwriter whose credits include SupergirlMozart in the Jungle, and The West Wing; and a professional violinist who has played with both classical orchestras and contemporary rock bands. (Photo credit: Jarod Lew) More about this author >

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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 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.

Extensively researched from court transcripts, contemporary news accounts, and in-person interviews with key participants, From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry is a suspenseful, nuanced, and authoritative portrait of a pivotal moment in civil rights history, and a man who became a symbol against hatred and racism.