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The Fight for Asian American Civil RightsLiberal Protestant Activism, 1900-1950$
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Sarah M. Griffith

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041686

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041686.001.0001

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“We Must Fight for the Lord and Japan”

“We Must Fight for the Lord and Japan”

Christian Internationalism in the Pacific

(p.11) 1 “We Must Fight for the Lord and Japan”
The Fight for Asian American Civil Rights

Sarah M. Griffith

University of Illinois Press

In the years leading up to World War I, American liberal Protestants worked alongside their European and Japanese partners to expand the YMCA’s institutional reach in Japan. Despite its dramatic growth and influence on social reform, an emerging anti-Japanese movement led by white nativists in the United States threatened the YMCA’s efforts in Japan. Inspired by an emerging racial liberalism taking root among American social scientists, liberal Protestants responded with an alternative racial discourse that emphasized internationalism, cultural pluralism, and immigrant assimilation. Through their international partnerships and newly formed political lobbies, such as the Commission on Relations with Japan and National Committee for Constructive Immigration, American liberal Protestants lay a foundation for expanded social and political activism in the post-WWI era.

Keywords:   Westernization, modernist theology, 1907 Gentleman’s Agreement, Nativism, Assimilation, cultural pluralism, internationalism, Commission on Relations with Japan

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