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This chapter examines the interconnected history of Japanese, Japanese American, and African American communities in Southern California. Doing so illustrates the dialectic between international relations and local communities, demonstrates how immigration from Asia played a fundamental role in the development of Black understandings of life “out West,” and shows how both radical agitation and the politics of youth culture undergird these interethnic histories. The links between African America, Japan, and the Japanese diaspora illustrate the triadic concern with interethnicity, internationalism, and expressive culture at the heart of this book. Beginning with the interwar period and tracking the shifts that accompanied internment, wartime Black migration, and the postwar explosion of movements for both reform and liberation, the chapter argues that the intercultural history of Black and Japanese Los Angeles helps us to understand anew the complexities of race and politics in twentieth-century urban California.

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