Photographic Collections

Asian American Photographic Collection, 1972-1988
Generated by Visual Communications, these images document the rise of the Asian American Movement from the late 1960s and 1980s that gave birth to the creation and realization of the pan-Asian American identity. Images portray the activism of the period, particularly from Asian Americans. Images cover a number of demonstrations, including the Van Troi anti-Imperialist Youth Brigade, which formed during the Vietnam War; Asian Americans for Peace, coalition-building anti-Vietnam demonstrations; Anti-Bakke Mobilization, in response to a decision that determined affirmative action racial quotas are unconstitutional; a U.S. out of Korea demonstration; and Asian Americans against apartheid.

Activists were also concerned with the rights of the working people: photos show a strike against the Nishimoto Trading company; workers wished for higher pay and safer conditions. Other workers are documented, including the canneries and fishermen located in the Los Angeles Pier, as well as the grocers and merchants at Grand Central Market.

Images of events also include the Asian American Drug Conference, which formed as a result of the prevalence and concern of drug use by young Asian Americans. A series of images include cultural events, such as martial arts demonstrations, Asian Pacific Heritage Week, and the first Lotus Blossom Festival, currently in its 30th year.  Asian American events are covered, such as the New York City Basement workshop, established to produce, publish, and perform community-based projects. Artists featured include Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Arthur Dong and actors Pat Morita, George Takei (as an activist, not an actor), James Hong, and writers Naomi Hirahara and Frank Chin. Political figures and activists are portrayed, such as former long-term Los Angeles’ mayor, Tom Bradley, Warren Furutani, and Jesse Jackson, who was the first presidential candidate to visit Little Tokyo.

Student events are included, such as the Asian Pacific Student Union Conference, a collaborative network of Asian Pacific American organizations that arose from the Bakke Decision, and the Diversity Rally at UCLA, which protested the denial of tenure to Dr. Don Nakanishi of the Asian American Studies Department in the late 1980s.

Community Slideshow Photographic Collection, circa 1980s
VC created slideshows for many then-fledgling groups that are now established organizations in the Asian American community. Organizations include the Korean Action Coalition, Leadership for Asian Pacifics, Asian American Journalists Association, Korean Youth Center, Japanese American National Museum, Search to Involve Pilipino Americans, Asian Pacific Student Union, Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, Korean Action Coalition, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

Chinese American Photographic Collection, circa 1970s-1980s
This collection documents Chinese cultural events, organizations, education, and the Los Angeles Chinatown community during the 1970s and 1980s. One series of images document the historic and momentous visit and subsequent games between the American and Chinese Table Tennis Teams in 1972 historically referred to as “Ping Pong Diplomacy.” The first game between the two nations took place in China, and is widely credited to helping establish relations between the two estranged countries. President Richard Nixon visited China in 1972, ending 25 years of formal separation.

Other images portray a range of events, including a demonstration in the Westwood community of Los Angeles against the racially insensitive and stereotypical Charlie Chan character in the film “Curse of the Dragon Queen.”  A number of community demonstrations are documented, like a protest led by the Chinatown Service Center to protest the cutting of community services. Other events include cultural events such as the Chinese New Year’s parade, children’s pageants, and the Chinatown carnival.

Eddie Oshiro Photographic Collection, circa 1980-2000
The collection consists of over 4000 rolls of 35 mm negatives, slides, and photographs that document the evolution of the Little Tokyo and Asian American communities from the 1980s to the early 2000s that include portraits of people as well as events and landmarks such as the Centenary Church Walk-A-Thon, Tuesday Night Café at the Union Center for the Arts, the Manzanar Pilgrimage, the 1992 L.A. Riots, and the Union Rescue Mission. Although the bulk of his photography focused on the Little Tokyo area, he documented many other parts of Los Angeles in addition to his travels all over the country.

Filipino American Photographic Collection, circa 1980s-1990s
This photo collection generated by Visual Communications (bulk are negatives; some prints) documents the Filipino American community. These historically significant images include the very-active, but not-well-known Filipino contingent of the United Farm Workers union. Many of these workers lived in Delano, California and participated in various labor rights campaigns there as well as in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Philip Vera Cruz, the late Filipino farm labor organizer, Vice President of the United Farm Workers, and leader, is featured in this collection at various protests and events.  His memorial service, held in 1994, is also documented.

The lives of aging Filipino workers are portrayed in the series documenting Agbayani Village, which was founded as a home for these workers and named after a fellow worker who died on the picket line. The community was built by volunteers for farm workers, and later became a heritage site to visit by younger generations of Filipinos.

Images document the activism of the Filipino community in America, particularly on the West Coast, about political issues back in the Philippines, namely martial law implemented by the Marcos dictatorship; the progression of events that involved the assassination of presidential candidate opponent, Ninoy Aquino; election of the first female president, Corazon Aquino, in the Asian Pacific sphere; and Marcos’ exile to Hawai’i. Protests against martial law and against the Marcos dictatorship are demonstrated in this collection. In addition to demonstrations, photos document the discussion of the problems in the Philippines– East Wind Publications sponsored a symposium called “People Power” about the needs of post-Marcos Philippines and how to restore democracy in the country.

Filipino community and cultural organizations’ events are also portrayed in this collection, including the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture, LA Filipino Community Cultural Center, Presidential Candidate Jesse Jackson’s visit to Little Manila, Filipino Writers Group, Pilipino Cultural Night at UCLA, Filipino Independence Day celebration in San Francisco, and the Filipino American National Historical Society.

Japanese American Photographic Collection, 1906-1991
Negatives and prints accessioned from Japanese American families. Many focus on Japanese Americans in the military, wartime, and internment camps.

Kabuki Theater Photographic Collection
This collection contains professional portraits of Kabuki theater performers and inscriptions from the early 20th century.

Korean American Photographic Collection, circa 1970s
Created by Visual Communications, this collection documents the growing Korean-American community in Los Angeles, which boasts the largest community of Koreans outside of Korea.  Photos portray Koreatown’s residents, churches, and Korean-owned businesses, all centered around Olympic Boulevard.

Lillian Weiser Collection, 1931-1966
Lillian Weiser was the dean at one of the oldest nursing schools in the Philippines, St. Luke’s College of Nursing and helped establish nursing curriculum. Photographs, postcards, and letters from students demonstrate her influence on the Filipino nursing profession.

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Photographic Collection, 1983-present
Photographs chronicle the growth of the first film festival showcasing films about and by Asian Pacific Americans. Collection includes photos of Asian American and Pacific Islander actors and filmmakers.

Samoan American Photographic Collection, circa 1970s
Photographs document Samoan American life around the San Pedro and Carson communities in the greater Los Angeles area.  Collection includes photographs of church events, dance festivals, and other community events.

VC Photographic Collection, 1972-1991
Chronicles the early activities of VC from its inception, much in anti-war activism, community issues, educational programs, and the creation of films by and about Asian Pacific Islander Americans.

These images, generated by Visual Communications, portray the behind-the-scenes productions and the grassroots filmmaking process of seminal Asian American films such as MANZANAR (Robert Nakamura), CRUISIN’ J-TOWN, as well as publications like Moving the Image. The documentation of the early VC activities show the unique history of VC and its collaborative role in transforming and influencing Asian American media art through activism.

The photos also document VC exhibits, like “In Movement” and “Planting Roots”, in addition to workshops and classes for the public, artists, children, and events; and involvement with other Asian Pacific American community organizations including Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture, Japanese American Community and Cultural Center, Little Tokyo Service Center, Korean American Coalition, and National Asian American Telecommunications Association (now Center for Asian American Media). These photos show the formation and early activities of community service  programs that are now established Asian Pacific American organizations.

Willie Funakoshi Photographic Collection, circa 1960s-1980
This Collection contains photographs, slides, and negatives of Los Angeles’ Nisei Parade Royal Court and Queens spanning the 1960s to the 1980s. The Nisei Week Parade and festivities is a significant, long-running cultural event in Japanese American communities.

Moving Image Collections

Amerasians: Media and the Arts Video Collection, 1983-1990
This collection is composed of 119 ¾” U-matic tapes. Amerasians: Media and the Arts was a public access television series featuring interviews and highlights of Asian American playwrights, actors, filmmakers, musicians, performance artists, animators, journalists, broadcast journalists, activists, visual artists, painters, poets, photographers, art historians, and other artists. Some interviews focus on Hawaiian-American filmmakers and Asian American female artists. Some segments cover events such as the Pacific Islander Festival and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Armed with A Camera Collection, 2002-present
Founded in 2002, Armed with a Camera is a six-month mentorship program that supports emerging filmmakers to create short films that premiere at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Funded by the James Irvine Foundation and LA County Arts Commission, the fellowship offers mentorship, training, and funding for ten Asian Pacific American artists a year.  The collection includes 90 narrative, documentary, and experimental films, and grows annually.

Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians in Los Angeles (CWRIC)/Speak Out For Justice (SOFJ) Video Collection, 1980
This collection consists of approximately 26 hours of video testimonies, transcripts, and summaries from the 1981 Los Angeles public hearings of the Commission on the Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). 157 participants, including historians, elected officials, Japanese Americans (former internees included), and community members testified during the three-day and one evening session at the Los Angeles State Building and the Little Tokyo Towers.

The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) was created through the passage of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians Act in July 1980. The Commission explored the implementation of Executive Order 9066, its effects, and related actions of Japanese-American internment during World War II.

Curtis Choy Collection
This collection contains documentaries by filmmaker Curtis Choy including “The Fall of the I-Hotel” about the International Hotel in San Francisco’s (now defunct) Manillatown that served as a boarding house to many Asian Pacific laborers in the 1920s and 1930s; “Wendy…uh…What’s her name” profiles Wendy Yoshimura, a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army who was apprehended with Patty Hearst in 1974, as well as other documentaries.

George Cayetano Filipino-American Home Movie Collection, circa 1950s-1960s
This collection contains home footage by George Cayetano, a Filipino American.

Forgotten Heroes Collection, 1999
This collection contains footage of interviews with Filipino American soldiers about issues regarding Filipino American immigrant life and family, experience in war and the military and political and social awareness. This footage was originally meant for a documentary that was not completed.

Japanese American Citizens’ League (JACL) Redress Video Collection, 1988-1991
These oral histories were filmed and conducted by the JACL on history and issues of government reparations and redress for the incarceration of Japanese American citizens during World War II. The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Redress Video Collection, 1988-1991, undated, consists of interviews conducted by Visual Communications for the JACL.Interviewees included JACL members, activists, and politicians (some of who were former internees during World War II) about their personal internment experiences, the initial discussions about redress and reparations, the introduction of the “Seattle Plan,” mobilization efforts and legislative action toward redress, and the grassroots activism and political processes involved in passing H.R. 442, the Civil Rights Act of 1988. Other footage covers JACL Legislative Education Committee meetings, annual dinners, and speeches. Interviewees include prominent figures like Senator Daniel Inouye, Secretary of Transportation (then Congressman) Norman Mineta, Thomas Kean, Governor of New Jersey, Grayce Uyehara, Executive Director of the JACL Legislative Education Committe, Gene Doi, and Grant Ujifusa.

Little Tokyo Redevelopment Collection, circa 1970s-1980s
This collection includes 200 U-matic tapes and 1 binder of 35mm negatives about the Little Tokyo People’s Rights Organization (LTPRO) that formed in the 1970s as a result of the now-defunct Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles’ funding for blighted areas. The LTPRO was founded to assist community businesses and long-time senior residents that were in danger of being displaced by overseas, multinational companies. Tapes include footage of interviews with residents and activists, meetings with groups, and protests and actions by the LTPRO to stop eviction.

Paula A. Daniels Collection
Collection of Paula Daniels, politician and former filmmaker, includes coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and subsequent oral histories regarding the riots. Collection also includes family footage of Hawai’i and an oral history with Susan Ahn Cuddy, the first Korean American woman to serve in the U.S. Navy and daughter of Korean independence activist Do San Ahn.

Philip Vera Cruz Video Collection, circa 1990s
Digitized U-matic interviews with and about Philippines-born migrant-laborer activist Philip Vera Cruz, co-founder of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, which later merged with Cesar Chavez’ National Farm Workers of America to form the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee.

O’mai Fa’atasi Video Collection, 1978-1980
Digitized video interviews with members of the Samoan group present a view of the problems facing youth in the growing LA-area Samoan community. Topics include family and church life, cultural heritage, Samoan stereotypes, and challenges with youth, gangs, familial pressure, education, immigrant life, and reconciling Samoan and American cultures.

Visual Communications Filmmography Collection, 1971-present
Collection includes filmography of VC productions of documentary, narrative, and experimental short films and features.  Many films are available for distribution, including, “Claiming a Voice,” “Stand Up for Justice,” “Grassroots Rising,” Hito Hata: Raise the Banner,” “Cruisin’ J-Town,” “Kites and Other Tales,” “Pieces of a Dream,” “Wataridori: Birds of Passage,” Manong,” “Omai Fa’atasi: Samoa Mo Samoa,” Samsara,” “Tracks,” “In Movement,” Chinatown 2-Step,” “City City,” “I Told You So,” “Manzanar,” “Pieces of a Dream,” To Be Me, Tony Quon,” and “Wong Sinsaang,” among others. For more information on these works, please refer to our catalog.

Visual Communications Moving Image Collection, circa 1970s-2000s
Includes tapes of VC and other community activities. Also includes interviews with community members.

Paper Collections

Asian American Research Collection, circa 1970s-1990s
Contains 1970s Asian American Movement newsletters, magazines, flyers, brochures, pamphlets, booklets from Asian American Pacific community organizations such as Asian Women’s Center, JACL, Asian Americans for Action and student organizations about cultural and community events. Includes community newspapers like Kalayaan, Paio, East Wind, and Bridge.

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Collection, 1983-present
Documents and electronic records chronicle the growth of the first film festival showcasing films about and by Asian Pacific Americans. Materials include programs, synopses, and bios of Asian American and Pacific Islander actors, filmmakers, and films.

Gidra Newsletter Collection, 1971-1974
Gidra was an activist newspaper created by UCLA students during the Asian American movement. Its voice was a politically radical one that questioned American politics and policies both abroad and at home. The issues suffer from acid damage and need to be flattened and re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes. Preservation copies need to be made. Materials must be arranged at the item level and described.

In Focus Newsletter Collection, circa 1980s-2000s
Collection includes VC newsletters, “In Focus,” and accompanying materials documenting VC’s activities and other Asian American community events.

Visual Communications Institutional Records, circa 1970-2000
Material documents VC’s inception and institutional history; includes grant work, reports, newspaper press, creation, educational files, financial reports, and administrative documents. Materials must be arranged at the subseries level, described, rehoused, and made accessible.

Sound Collections

Military Intelligence Service Interviews
Four audiocassette oral histories created in 1989 interview Japanese Americans who were secretly installed in Asia by the Military Intelligence Service, a World War II military branch.

Colonel. Young Oak Kim Oral Histories
Oral history tapes of Col. Young Oak Kim, who was the commander of the legendary Japanese American 100th Battalion during WWII.

Visual Communications Sound Collection, circa 1980s-1990s
Includes audiocassette tapes of VC and other community activities. Also includes interviews with community members.

Mixed Media Collections

Hito Hata Collection, 1980
This collection documents the making of Hito Hata: Raise the Banner, the first feature-length film made by and about Asian Americans. This film portrays an issei (first generation Japanese American) living in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo neighborhood that is undergoing redevelopment. Collection also includes paper documentation relating to production.

Carlos Bulosan Project Collection, 1980-1980, undated
The Carlos Bulosan Project documents the filmmaking planning and production processes of unfinished film about Carlos Bulosan, Filipino American writer. Collection includes production photos, press materials about productions and Visual Communications, and correspondence from supporters and donors.

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