Front page of the "New York Daily News" following Malcolm X's assassination, February 22, 1965

On paper, Yuri Kochiyama and Malcolm X made an unexpected pair — a Japanese American mother of six and a firebrand Muslim minister and Black nationalist. But their brief friendship, interrupted by his assassination in 1965, sheds light on the multi-racial cooperation of the civil rights movement and the broader fight against racial injustice around the world.

Kochiyama’s activism was sparked by her traumatic experiences during World War II

The daughter of Japanese immigrant parents, Mary Yuriko Nakahara was born in 1921 in San Pedro, California. Her father, Seiichi, was a successful fish merchant and the family lived a comfortable life in their predominantly white neighborhood.

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