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Finding Aid for the Edison Uno Papers, 1964-1976
1286  
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Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Edison Uno Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1964-1976
    Collection number: 1286
    Creator: Uno, Edison
    Extent: 119 boxes (59.5 linear ft.) 2 oversize boxes
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Abstract: Edison Tomimaro Uno was born in 1929 in Los Angeles. He was interned with his family in a camp in Crystal City, Texas during World War II. He graduated from Los Angeles State College in political science. He moved to San Francisco in 1956 and became operations manager of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Student Union in 1964, financial aid officer in 1969, and assistant dean of students from 1969-74. While assistant dean at UCSF he also taught various courses on Japanese American history and Asian American studies at California State University, San Francisco, where he was active in establishing an ethnic studies curriculum. He also taught at Stanford University, Lone Mountain College, and the California School of Professional Psychology. He served as one of the directors of the California Historical Society, and was the first Japanese American to serve on the San Francisco grand jury. Uno was active in grand jury reform, as well as other civil rights issues. He worked on the Farewell to Manzanar television program. He received various awards: the ACLU Alexander Meiklejohn Award, the San Francisco Bar Association's Liberty Bell Award, and the UCSF Chancellor's Public Service Award. The collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, scrapbooks, committee records, subject files, speeches, clippings and other materials that relate to Uno's career as a California educator and civil libertarian, including material on ethnic studies curricula, grand jury reform and Japanese American community issues.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Copyright to portions of this collection has been assigned to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. The library can grant permission to publish for materials to which it holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish or quote must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian, Department of Special Collections.] Credit shall be given as follows: [c in circle] The Regents of the University of California on behalf of the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.

    Additional Physical Form Available

    A copy of the original version of this online finding aid is available at the UCLA Department of Special Collections for in-house consultation and may be obtained for a fee. Please contact:
    • Public Services Division
    • UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections
    • Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
    • Box 951575
    • Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
    • Telephone: 310/825-4988 (10:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., Pacific Time)
    • Email: spec-coll@library.ucla.edu

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Rosalind K. Uno, 1980.

    Funding

    This online finding aid has been funded in part by a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Edison Uno Papers (Collection 1286). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Biography

    Edison Tomimaro Uno was born in 1929 in Los Angeles; he was interned with his family in a camp in Crystal City, Texas during World War II; graduated from Los Angeles State College in political science; from 1952 to 1955, he worked as advertising and publicity agent for Japanese English-language newspapers; moved to San Francisco in 1956; became operations manager of University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Student Union in 1964, financial aid officer in 1969, and assistant dean of students from 1969-74; beginning in 1969, taught various courses on Japanese American history and Asian American studies at California State University, San Francisco, where he was active in establishing an ethnic studies curriculum; also taught at Stanford University, Lone Mountain College, and the California School of Professional Psychology; served as one of the directors of the California Historical Society, and was the first Japanese American to serve on the San Francisco grand jury; he was active in grand jury reform, as well as in such civil rights issues as the Wendy Yoshimura Defense Fund, Title II Repeal, Redress for Evacuation, and the Japanese American Citizens' League (JACL); worked on Farewell to Manzanar television program; recipient of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Alexander Meiklejohn Award, the San Francisco Bar Association's Liberty Bell Award, and the UCSF Chancellor's Public Service Award; he died in December, 1976.

    Extended Biographical Narrative

    Edison Tomimaro Uno, born in Los Angeles in 1929, was the sixth son of George Kumemaro Uno and Riki Kita who were blessed with ten children, six boys and four girls. Uno's father, a native of Japan, came to the U.S. at the age of 19, like many immigrants to seek new opportunities and freedom. As a young man, he worked in various types of employment. At first he worked as a common laborer in a nursery in Alameda County for a relative, later he worked on the railroad in California, Nevada and Utah. The early history of the Uno Family was one of survival in as much as it was a large family and the income of the father did not meet all of the needs of a growing family. In the Spring of 1942 Uno's father was apprehended by the FBI and interned at Bismarck, North Dakota; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Lordsburg, New Mexico; and Crystal City, Texas. At the age of 13, Edison Uno was taken to Santa Anita Assembly Center in the Spring of 1942 with his family and 110,000 other persons of Japanese descent. From Santa Anita they were later moved to Granada Relocation Center, Colorado in the Fall of 1942. Four of his brothers volunteered for military service while his mother and the younger members of the family were transferred to Crystal City Internment Camp in Texas to be united with their father. Fortunately, all of the Uno sons returned from the war alive. Older members of the family were relocated to Chicago, Minneapolis, Mississippi and eventually the family returned to California. Uno's father was one of the last to be released from camp while Uno had the dubious distinction of being one of the last Nisei to be released. By that time, he had been totally held for four and a half years. All of the family's personal belongings were lost during the war, and they had to start from scratch in 1945-46. The evacuation and relocation process changed the whole family structure and had an enduring and profound effect on Uno's life. Those years of hardship, toil and anguish in the relocation centers were never ever forgotten. A quote from the very touching introduction to Executive Order 9066, wrote Uno: Time has healed some of the old wounds, but the scars are not visible, they are there in the deep recesses of that psychological corner of our minds.
    Returning to Los Angeles, Uno majored in Government at Los Angeles City College and later graduated from Los Angeles State College with a degree in political science. Because of his particular interest in mass media and special concern with the Japanese American community, he helped establish a small all English weekly Japanese-American newspaper around 1951 and 1952. During the period from 1952 to 1955, he worked as an advertising and publicity agent for five Los Angeles Japanese English newspapers. Uno moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 1956, shortly after, he was married to the former Rosalind Kido with whom he had two daughters, Elizabeth and Rosanne. He was later employed by Mutual Supply Co. and given the opportunity of being responsible for operating the judo and related martial arts department. He had proven his ability by making a success out of a lagging business and published the first national judo club directory in 1963.
    As a result of his genuine concern about education and administrative work, Uno became operations manager of UC San Francisco Student Union from 1964 to 1968. His position as financial aid officer at UC San Francisco in 1969 was a perfect manifestation of his continuous effort for the individual student, his problems, welfare and rights. He then became Assistant Dean of students at UCSF from 1969 to 1974. His endeavor to fully give his time and energy to represent the best interests of the students and employees of UCSF had won him solid support in his dismissal event in 1973. After publicly accusing his superior of indifference in meeting the housing needs of students, he was charged in turn with an obvious attempt toward smear and vilification of the housing office and ministration. The numerous irregularities surrounding Uno's firing had prompted wide community response for an independent investigation of the matter. UC Chancellor Francis Sooy had reportedly received dozens of letters of support for Uno, including letters and calls from congressmen, regents, state senators, assemblymen, student organizations, minority communities, co-workers, staff, employees, department heads, professionals and concerned citizens of all backgrounds. The strongest comment from the students of UCSF was that Uno had openly dedicated himself to the needs of the students and improvement of student services as few administrators had dared to do. As a matter of fact, this kind of excellent rapport with students was a remote cause of this dismissal event. The settlement of Uno's grievance was made in June, three months after the dismissal notification was received. Uno declared this entire matter is an example of the subtle type of discrimination that Asian Americans face today. As a matter of fact, one must fight for his own rights when an injustice is perpetrated against him is Uno's lifetime motto. The immense community reaction had characterized him as sensitive, warm-hearted man of integrity and fighter for injustice.
    Since 1969, he also taught various courses on Japanese American history and Asian American Studies at California State University, San Francisco. In 1969, he organized public protest against Dr. S. I. Hayakawa, president of San Francisco State College, pertaining to the campus troubles and violence. At the same time, he also chaired a group insurance program for 1,500 members of UCSF. In the area of teaching, he also was associated with the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP), serving as a part-time contract instructor and later as part of the core faculty. CSPP had a major in community psychology. Uno was involved in the development of that curriculum and was actively seeking to increase the number of minority students accepted for graduate degree programs. Meanwhile, he was a lecturer at Stanford University on Asian Americans. With the extension of interest in education, he also served as a member of Board of Regents at Lone Mountain College.
    Uno's dedication to public welfare and community prosperity continued to the last years of his life. He presented numerous lectures, workshops, panels, etc. to organizations, school districts, colleges, civic and fraternal organizations, most notably the Community Advisory Board for John Adams Adult School, Citizens Advisory Committee on Integration and Desegregation, San Francisco, Unified School District, Unified Professors of California and San Francisco Asian American Education Task Force.
    Uno regarded the Japanese Americans' internment during the wartime the most vivid example of racism, mistreatment, injustice and exploitation in American history. Since lots of distorted ideas have access to public media, he was determined to make certain that the truly personal perspectives were documented in the many interpretations of this historic event and made accessible to the public. Uno brought to the California Historical Society (CHS) Board of Trustees a broad background of community service. Elected to the Board in April of 1972 to fill the unexpired term of Mrs. Austin Morris, he already had been closely involved with the work of the Society for almost a year in connection with the CHS exhibition on wartime evacuation and the related book, Executive Order 9066. Uno wrote the book's very touching introduction and served as a valued resource consultant during the critical first phase of the exhibition. After his election, he assisted the Society with several developing exhibits and had been especially helpful as a member of a special fund-raising committee.
    Edison Uno's impact as a human rights fighter was not limited by the concerns of Japanese Americans alone. The concentration camps experience may be unique to Japanese Americans, but Uno also thought it was no different from the concentration camps of Indian reservations, slavery, poor education, sub-standard housing, inadequate health care, and many of the injustices and inequities minority people and disadvantaged people have endured in the society. Therefore, he also was active in legislative concerns and the criminal justice system. Elected as the first person of Japanese ancestry to serve on the San Francisco Grand Jury in 1970 and labeled by the press as the maverick Grand Juror, Uno spent the following three years attempting to reform the Grand Jury system and received great public attention. As the chairman of the reform committee, he was critical of the selection process charging that the Grand Jury was discriminatory and unrepresentative of the average citizen. The reform committee fought for a new selection process that citizens of San Francisco may volunteer for Grand Jury duty as long as they met with some specific requirements. Expressions of confidence in his efforts in police, courts, probation and other facets of justice systems were made on the part of many organizations he took part in, such as the San Francisco Committee on Crime, the Citizens Council for Criminal Justice and the Committee for Prisoner Humanity And Justice.
    Uno was involved throughout his lifetime with the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). His 22 years of service with the League was to achieve: 1) the development of vocal and articulate leaders in the community, 2) massive exposure to all forms of public media, 3) the establishment of a new and more positive public image of Asian Americans, and 4) drastic changes in the educational system whereby Asian Americans are identified by their own self-determination. With these purposes in mind, he became chairman of the Nisei Voters League of San Francisco, vice-chairman of the Japanese American Curriculum Project, and the Asian American Education Task Force of San Francisco. In 1968, he was elected co-chairman of the JACL's Committee to Repeal Detention Camp legislation when Ray Okamura initiated the repeal of Title II of the Internal Security Act of 1950 (The Detention Camp Law). His diligent work led to a successful repealing by Congress in 1971.
    In spite of some factional disputes within his community activities, however, his career continued to reflect a commitment to the well-being of all the Japanese people. He was instrumental in promoting the Wendy Yoshimura Defense Fund and was closely associated with the Iva Toguri (Tokyo Rose) case and the controversy over Nisei: The Quiet American, a JACL-commissioned popular version of the 100-year Japanese American history.
    Uno's dedication to principles of human welfare and his continuing struggle for full equality for all people in the social, economic, and political aspects of life was localized within other civic and fraternal organizations, namely the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the San Francisco Labor Council and the Community Coalition for Media Change. As an authority in the research of wartime experience and Asian American Studies, Uno had been a consultant for the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare and McGraw-Hill Publishing Company about Asian American affairs. Moreover, he also aided in the production of NBC's Guilty By Reason of Race in September of 1972 which was perhaps the most persuasively damning documentary yet produced for television on the concentration camp experience and its aftermath. In varying capacities, he actively participated in various consultative works concerning television stations, radio stations, and newspapers on Asian American matters.
    Uno died of a heart attack in December, 1976. His dedication and outspoken advocacy for liberty, justice, freedom and equality of the society had never ceased a day throughout his life. He had been a controversial figure not only in the Japanese American community but also in various civil rights issues with which he was associated. However, his contribution to the community is never questioned and is evidenced by various awards which include the American Civil Liberties Union, the First Alexander Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Award; the San Francisco Bar Association, Liberty Bell Award; and UCSF Chancellor's Public Service Award and the National JACL Award. A plaque outside the Millberry Union Housing Office at UCSF was placed in honor of Uno's contribution to the school and community. The drive for the plaque was initially supported by congressmen, assemblymen and senators while the school authority brought the plaque project into completion. The sincere dedication to Uno from Michi N. Weglyn, author of the famous book Years of Infamy was carved on the plaque: He refused to stand by silent when the human rights of any minority or any group were under attack. Dr. Shirley Chater, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of UCSF, had best characterized Uno as forceful, direct, possessed of a magnificent sense of humor and that he loved people deeply.
    Edison T. Uno, the social activist and human rights advocate, will be eternally alive in the memories of many people. It is not incidental to see such a compliment from his friends: Knowing Er. Uno as a friend has enriched my life.
    (Compiled from papers of the Edison Uno Collection (#1286) of the Department of the Special Collections, University Research Library, UCLA)

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, letter enclosures, school curricula reports, scrapbooks, committee records, subject files, speeches, clippings, meeting minutes, miscellaneous writings, photographs, publications and pamphlets. Materials relate to Uno's career as a California educator and civil libertarian, including material on ethnic studies curricula, grand jury reform and Japanese American community issues.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Education curricula at various schools.
    2. Ethnic and civil rights studies.
    3. University of California, San Francisco.
    4. Wartime evacuation.
    5. Japanese American Citizens' League Activities.
    6. Other organizational affiliations.
    7. Grand jury.
    8. Japanese American community.
    9. Documents for consultation.
    10. Biographical materials.
    11. Newsclippings, correspondence, mailing lists, and miscellaneous.
    12. Non-manuscript materials.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Uno, Edison--Archives.
    University of California, San Francisco--Officials and employees--Archival resources.
    San Francisco State University. Asian American Studies Dept.--Faculty--Archival resources.
    Japanese American Citizens' League.
    College teachers--California, Northern--Archival resources.
    College teachers--Political activity--Archival resources.
    Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.

    Related Material

    Title: Japanese American Research Project Collection of Material about Japanese in the United States.
    Identifier/Call Number: (Collection 2010).
    Available at the Department of Special Collections, UCLA.
    Title: Japanese American Research Project - Fading Footsteps of the Issei.
    Identifier/Call Number: (Collection 2010).
    Available at the Department of Special Collections, UCLA.