Facing the Rising Sun: African Americans, Japan, and the Rise of Afro-Asian Solidarity

Facing the Rising Sun: African Americans, Japan, and the Rise of Afro-Asian Solidarity

by Gerald Horne

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The surprising alliance between Japan and pro-Tokyo African Americans during World War II

In November 1942 in East St. Louis, Illinois a group of African Americans engaged in military drills were eagerly awaiting a Japanese invasion of the U.S.— an invasion that they planned to join. Since the rise of Japan as a superpower less than a century earlier, African Americans across class and ideological lines had saluted the Asian nation, not least because they thought its very existence undermined the pervasive notion of “white supremacy.” The list of supporters included Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, and particularly W.E.B. Du Bois.

Facing the Rising Sun tells the story of the widespread pro-Tokyo sentiment among African Americans during World War II, arguing that the solidarity between the two groups was significantly corrosive to the U.S. war effort. Gerald Horne demonstrates that Black Nationalists of various stripes were the vanguard of this trend—including followers of Garvey and the precursor of the Nation of Islam. Indeed, many of them called themselves “Asiatic”, not African. Following World War II, Japanese-influenced “Afro-Asian” solidarity did not die, but rather foreshadowed Dr. Martin Luther King’s tie to Gandhi’s India and Black Nationalists’ post-1970s fascination with Maoist China and Ho’s Vietnam.

Based upon exhaustive research, including the trial transcripts of the pro-Tokyo African Americans who were tried during the war, congressional archives and records of the Negro press, this book also provides essential background for what many analysts consider the coming “Asian Century.” An insightful glimpse into the Black Nationalists’ struggle for global leverage and new allies, Facing the Rising Sun provides a complex, holistic perspective on a painful period in African American history, and a unique glimpse into the meaning of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781479854936
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 01/16/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 987,433
File size: 533 KB

About the Author

Gerald Horne is Moores Professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, and has published three dozen books including, The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the USA and Race War! White Supremacy and the Japanese Attack on the British Empire.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Japan Rises/Negroes Cheer 25

2 Harlem, Addis Ababa-and Tokyo 41

3 Japan Establishes a Foothold in Black America 57

4 White Supremacy Loses "Face" 76

5 Pro-Tokyo Negroes Convicted and Imprisoned 94

6 Japanese Americans Interned, U.S. Negroes Next? 112

7 "Brown Americans" Fight "Brown Japanese" in the Pacific War? 130

8 Aftermath 147

Notes 167

Index 215

About the Author 227

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