From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement
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.
In 1982 Detroit, anti Asian American sentiment is on the rise as Japanese car companies are purported to threaten the livelihoods of U.S. autoworkers. After autoworker Ronald Ebens and his stepson Michael Nitz, both white, kill Chinese American Vincent Chin, they plead guilty to his manslaughter but are let off with a lenient sentence. Serving "as a wake-up call for Asian America," the incident spurs outrage and action in the Asian American community. Through in-person interviews, court transcripts, and present-day accounts, Yoo's YA nonfiction debut exhaustively details Chin's murder and carefully considers its resulting impact. Eyewitness accounts provide clarity, and detailed chronicling of the trials elicits justified frustration on the final verdict. In six well-structured parts, suspenseful narration illuminates Chin's personal life, his gruesome death, the trials' obstacles, and Chin's legacy; well-integrated news clippings and emotive photographs imbue events with a hard-hitting real-time feel. This resonant, painstakingly recreated historical account features a timely afterword spotlighting the rise in anti-AAPI violence amid the Covid-19 pandemic, drawing parallels between this haunting account of a 40-year-old crime to present-day atrocities. Back matter includes a timeline, notes, list of sources, and suggestions for further reading. Ages 14 up.