Above: Elaine Black Yoneda speaking at the funeral of political activist and labor leader Tom Mooney, May 8, 1942. Yoneda was district secretary for International Labor Defense (ILD) in San Francisco in 1934. California Historical Society
On July 26, 2022, CHS hosted the virtual program Elaine Black Yoneda: A California Story with author Rachel Schreiber in conversation with Tanya Hollis from the San Francisco State University Labor Archives and Research Center. The illuminating presentation and discussion highlighted Yoneda’s remarkable life story as described in Rachel Schreiber’s new book, Elaine Black Yoneda: Jewish Immigration, Labor Activism, and Japanese American Exclusion and Incarceration (Temple University Press, 2021).
Elaine Black Yoneda was the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants. She accompanied her Japanese American husband, Karl Yoneda, and their son, Tommy, when they were required to spend eight months in the Manzanar concentration camp for Japanese Americans. Prior to World War II, Yoneda had had an important career in labor activism throughout California. She was the only woman on the organizing committee of the 1934 General Strike in San Francisco, and she was extensively involved in agricultural activism throughout the Central Valley and Northern California.
During the virtual program, an enthusiastic discussion took place in the chat, where CHS staff and program attendees shared many resources relating to the Yoneda family, Jewish immigration, Japanese American exclusion and incarceration, and labor activism. Below is a list of those resources. You can watch the full program at CHS’s YouTube channel.
Elaine Black Yoneda Resource Guide
- CHS blog posts on Elaine Black Yoneda:
- Elaine Black Yoneda: Jewish Immigration, Labor Activism, and Japanese American Exclusion and Incarceration, a book by Rachel Schreiber.
- Ganbatte: Sixty-Year Struggle of a Kibei Worker, Karl Yoneda’s autobiography.
- MANZANAR Internment Camp Diary, Karl Yoneda’s diary from his time in Manzanar.
- Thomas Culbert Yoneda’s obituary. Tom Yoneda was Karl and Elaine Yoneda’s son, who died in January 2021 and lived an amazing life, reaching toward the legacy of his parents.
- The Sol (Solomon) Nitzberg stories in the ACLU of Northern California newsletters. Nitzberg was a Jewish poultry farmer, labor organizer, and Communist in Petaluma. On August 21, 1935, he and four other Sonoma County radicals were kidnapped and tortured by a mob of vigilantes; Nitzberg and one other man were tarred, feathered, and paraded through the streets of Santa Rosa. Nitzberg was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.
- Chutzpah, an article about the 1990s musical about Jewish chicken farmers in Sonoma County.
- Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law, a book by James Q. Whitman.
- ACLU of Northern California News
- ACLU Northern California Records of the Fred Korematsu case records
- California Historical Society Collection
- Elaine Black Yoneda oral history on Internet Archive (audio)
- Elaine Black Yoneda oral history at the California Historical Society (transcripts)
- Labor Archives and Research Center at San Francisco State University
- Words Do Matter: A Note on Inappropriate Terminology and the Incarceration of the Japanese Americans
- Wartime Mixed-Marriage Policy/Mixed-Blood Policy