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

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Winner of the 2021 Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Nonfiction

Longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award for Young People's Literature

Finalist for the 2022 YALSA Award for Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction

An NPR Best Book of 2021

A Washington Post Best Children's Book of 2021

A Time Young Adult Best Book of 2021

A Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of 2021

A Publishers Weekly Best Young Adult Book of 2021

A School Library Journal Best Book of 2021

A Horn Book Best Book of 2021

A compelling account of the killing of Vincent Chin, the verdicts that took the Asian American community to the streets in protest, and the groundbreaking civil rights trial that followed.

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.

ISBN-13: 9781324002871

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Publication Date: 04-20-2021

Pages: 384

Product Dimensions: 9.00(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.20(d)

Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

Paula Yoo is an award-winning children’s book author, a prolific TV writer/producer, and a professional violinist. From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry is her debut YA nonfiction book. She lives in Los Angeles.

Table of Contents

"You Don't Know About Vincent Chin?" 1

Part I "The Last Time"

Chapter 1 "One Last Night Out with the Guys" 7

Chapter 2 Murder City 15

Chapter 3 "Mama Is Here" 21

Chapter 4 Father's Day 27

Chapter 5 "As Long as We Have Each Other" 34

Chapter 6 "The Little Yellow People" 42

"They Keep Their History Very Quiet" 51

Part II "It's Not Fair"

Chapter 7 "You Make the Punishment Fit the Criminal" 57

Chapter 8 An Asian American Dream Deferred 63

Chapter 9 "This Is How Far We've Come in Two Hundred Years?" 69

Chapter 10 "We Must Let the World Know That We Think This is Wrong" 80

"Are You Gonna Let Him Call You That?"

Part III Justice for Vincent Chin

Chapter 11 The Warrior 89

Chapter 12 American Citizens for Justice 93

Chapter 13 "They Will Never Be the Same" 97

Chapter 14 "We Dropped the Ball" 103

Chapter 15 A Man of the Law 112

Chapter 16 "Time to Talk About Race" 124

Chapter 17 "We Want justice" 129

Chapter 18 Mrs. Chin Goes to Washington 140

"In the Spotlight" 153

Part IV United States V. Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz

Chapter 19 The Defenders: Miriam Siefer and Frank Eaman 159

Chapter 20 The Trailblazer: The Honorable Anna Diggs Taylor 166

Chapter 21 The Jury: "You Must Keep an Open Mind" 171

Chapter 22 The Opening Statements: "The Burden of Proof" 177

Chapter 23 The Bachelor Party: "We Are Just Here to Have a Good Time" 180

Chapter 24 The Employees: "It's Because of You" 196

Chapter 25 The Cops: "He Shouldn't Have Done It" 201

Chapter 26 The Eyewitnesses: "Government Exhibit No. 14" 206

Chapter 27 The Mother: "My Name Is Lily Chin" 214

Chapter 28 The Stepson: "It Happened So Quickly" 217

Chapter 29 The Father: "Something Just Snapped" 227

Chapter 30 The Closing Arguments: "Your Hardest Part Is Still Ahead" 237

Chapter 31 The Verdict: "I Can't Bring Him Back" 246

"In the Shadows"

Part V Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Chapter 32 "This Case Is Not Over" 261

Chapter 33 "We All Remember Our Lines, Okay?" 266

Chapter 34 "A Very, Very Tough Decision" 273

"I Really Don't Want to Talk About It"

Part VI "Remember Me Always"

Chapter 35 America Breaks Its Promise to Lily Chin 283

Chapter 36 "You Never Get Over It" 290

Chapter 37 "Vincent's Soul Will Never Rest" 293

"We Need to Talk About This" 303

Afterword 307

Timeline 315

Acknowledgments 319

Notes 323

Sources 361

Picture Credits 363

Index 365