City Girls: The Nisei Social World in Los Angeles, 1920-1950

This is an Archive of a Past Event

A book talk by Valerie Matsumoto

Nisei girls and young women played vital roles in the ethnic community in prewar Los Angeles, working in the family economy and serving as cultural mediators.  Because, like other youth of color, they were unwelcome in many school clubs and activities during the 1920s and 30s, they formed an extensive network of ethnic youth clubs through which they could enjoy parties, dancing, and sports, as well as gaining leadership training.  For urban Nisei, clubs offered a haven of belonging in an era of racial exclusion and a vehicle through which girls could demonstrate American identity and claim modern femininity.  Their organizational skills would prove important to the rebuilding of Japanese American communities after World War II uprooting and incarceration.

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