Born Goso Yoneda in Glendale, California in 1906, Yoneda was the son of Japanese immigrants. When he was seven, his father relocated the family to a small town in Japan.
He started as an activist as a teenager when he organized the strike of a powerful newspaper of the paper’s delivery boys.
He returned to the United States in 1926. He worked as a laborer for $5 per day and became active in the Communist Party as well as with Japanese workers who were organizing.
It was then that he changed his name to Karl after Karl Marx. In 1931 he was severely beaten by police and arrested. The woman who came to his aid was Elaine Black, known for her help of strikers, ended up becoming his wife in 1935. They married in Seattle because it was illegal for a white woman to marry a man of Japanese ancestry in California at that time.
In 1942, his family was interred at Manzamar, a Japanese internment camp during World War II.
Yoneda and his wife continued their activism for the rest of their lives fighting on behalf of the rights of workers. His wife died in 1988 and he died in 1999.-Heidi Durrow
Mixed Experience History Month is the annual blog post series created by The New York Times best-selling author Heidi Durrow celebrating the history of the Mixed experience. Established in 2007, Mixed Experience History Month is an effort to highlight the long history of folks and events involved in the Mixed experience. Please look for archived profiles of people, places and events of the Mixed experience every weekday of May at Lightskinned-ed Girl, the blog! Thanks for reading. And check out some of the previous year’s profiles: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. Copyright 2015
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