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Asian American Activism: From the 1960s to the Present

Shields Library (Lobby - Left Side of Main Staircase)

May 1, 2022 - December 23, 2022

This exhibit traces the Asian American Activism movement from the 1960s to the present, with a focus on the University of California, Davis campus. Using documents, photographs, and oral histories recordings, this interactive exhibit strives to diversify online sources for Asian American History and ethnic studies.

Starting with the 1960s, the exhibit depicts the rise in civil rights movement as catalysts for emerging socio-cultural movements that confronted and challenged institutional and systemic racism. At UC Davis, activist Professor Isao Fujimoto advocated for the rights of migrant farm workers in the Sacramento Valley and recorded his experiences from the 1965 United Farm Workers’ Delano Grape Strike.

Across the next two decades, Asian American Studies was established as official department at UC Davis; however the program struggled with a lack of resources, funding and support from the university administration. Building on the civil rights momentum from the 1960s, UC Davis students organized rallies, marches and other programming to raise community support for Asian Americans.

The 1990s and 2000s witnessed the development of new rhetoric concerning Asian American identities, such as the rise of the term “model minority. Present Day, Asian Americans continue to explore and analyze the nuances of their shared lived experiences and challenge societal stereotypes by advocating against  Anti-Asian hate and for equity.

The physical exhibit draws from The California Aggie newspapers, Isao Fujimoto Papers, Hub Segur Collection and George Kagiwada Library, and is located in the Shields Library Lobby. 

View the Online Exhibit

Exhibit Sources

The finding aids for the Isao Fujimoto Papers and the Hub Seger Collection are available on the Online Archive of California: and

The California Aggie is available through the California Digital Newspaper Collection.

For more information, please contact Archives and Special Collections staff; Jason Sarmiento,, and Sangeet Gill,


Newspaper article from the California Aggie reporting on the Delano Grape Strike
Describes day at Delano grape strike,” November 16, 1965, The California Aggie
Handwritten notes by Isao Fujimoto recording labor statistics.
Isao Fujimoto, Migrant Labor Diaries, “Work Statistics,” 1967
Yellow Peril Protest sign
Ethnic Studies supporter at Third World Liberation Strike protest, San Francisco, 1969

Formative Years

Asian American Woman speakers at conference Panel
Herb Sala, Susan Shinnick, “Asian Women’s Forum Attacks Oppression,” February 27, 1976. Third World Forum.
Handwritten protest sign
Protest Sign c. 1977, Cruz Reynoso papers
Newspaper article from the California Aggie reporting a student march on the Chancellor's office, includes image of students marching.
Ethan Watters, Al Stone “Students Crash Chancellor’s Office.” April 14, 1984 The California Aggie

Turn of the Century

Scrapbook cover that reads "Campus activism from an asian american perspective, a year in review 2000-01
Campus Activism from an Asian American Perspective (cover), George Kagiwada Library, Department of Asian American Studies
UC Davis students holding signs and protesting University Administration.
Council for Asian Pacific American Affairs (CAPAA) Protests, 2001, George Kagiwada Library, Department of Asian American Studies
Leadership attendees with action item signs
Asian Pacific Islander Leadership Conference, 2001
Campus Activism from an Asian American Perspective: A Year in Review
George Kagiwada Library, Department of Asian American Studies

The Present

Attendees of the Contemporary Asian American Activism Symposium.
Contemporary Asian American Activism symposium attendees, January 2019, Courtesy of Wayne Jopanda  (Left to right: Alex Tom, Wayne Jopanda, Katherine Lee, Diane Fujino, Karen Umemoto, Ben Lee, Pam Tau Lee, Mo Nishida, Robyn Rodriguez, Ga Young Chung, and Eddy Zheng).
Drawing to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Asian American Studies department at UC Davis.
Angel Trazo (Artist), “50 Years, Asian American Studies at UC Davis,” Department of Asian American Studies
Student speaking into a megaphone
Annelle Garcia at the COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) Protests, March 2020, Courtesy of Raul Morales Jr