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R.I.P. Richard Aoki

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Richard Aoki, former Field Marshall of the Black Panther Party and coordinator of the first

Richard Aoki, 1938-2009

Richard Aoki, 1938-2009

Asian American Studies program at UC Berkeley, has passed away.  He was 70 years old

Aoki was born in San Leandro, California in 1938 and along with his family was interned at the Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah from 1942 to 1945.  After the war his family resettled back in West Oakland where the community had become predominantly black.   He credits his upbringing in the black community post WWII for tying him to the black community.

Aoki spent 8 years in the military and was honorably discharged after he opposed the Vietnam War.   It was these military skills that he taught to the Black Panther Party.

Growing up in West Oakland, Aoki knew of the Seale, Newton and Hilliard families but it wasn’t until attending Merritt College that he became friends with Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. 

“I was one of the first to join (the Black Panther Party),” he added. Aoki also started a Berkeley chapter and recruited new members, including two other Asian Americans.

Oakland Tribune, 5 Oct 2006

 AngryAsianMan blog reports Aoki died from longstanding medical problems.

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Written by rentec

16 March, 2009 at 4:22 pm

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