Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Stanley N. Shikuma Interview I
Narrator: Stanley N. Shikuma
Interviewer: Barbara Yasui
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 11, 2022
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-517-19

<Begin Segment 19>

BY: We're going to get into much more depth about your political activism, but I want to back up and get a little information about your wife and kids. So what is your wife's name?

SS: Okay. So my wife is Tracy Alice Mark Lai. Mark Lai because Mark is the actual family name and Lai is the paper name.

BY: Okay, so she is Chinese American.

SS: She is Chinese American. She is Chinese Sansei, she's third generation.

BY: Okay, and where did she grow up?

SS: She grew up... well, she was born in San Francisco Chinatown in the Chinese hospital that's literally in the center of Chinatown. And for the first couple of years of her life, lived in her grandmother's apartment building, three story building that her grandma and grandpa lived on the top floor, and then there were, let's see, I think four kids, five kids, and four of them lived in the building, the first and second floor were divided into apartments, front and back. So she, the first two years of her life, she was in one of those apartments with her mom and dad. Then they moved to El Cerrito, which is on the East Bay, east side of San Francisco Bay, for another, I don't know, four or five years. And then during her elementary school years, they moved to Los Altos where her dad still lives. So that's her main memories, are growing up in Los Altos.

BY: And what is her occupation?

SS: So Tracy teaches history at Seattle College, Central College here in Seattle. And U.S. history is what she was hired for, but her sub specialties, so to speak, are Asian American Studies and women's history.

BY: So does she teach Asian American Studies classes at Seattle College?

SS: When she can. The basic history courses at Seattle College are U.S. history, so it's a three-course sequence: pre-revolution, revolution to Civil War, and then Civil War to the present. And so she has to teach those, and when she can, she will teach either Asian American studies or women's history. She's also done work on the Holocaust, she did a big study tour that went to Poland to visit the death camps. So she'll do that at times and she also does survey courses on world history. But when she does that, her focus is on Asia.

BY: And has she influenced your political activism in any way?

SS: Yeah, she was one of the main leaders of the Asian Student Union when I joined at UC Berkeley. So she's one of my leaders there. We also all, a bunch of us from ASU were the TAs for an Asian American lit class that Asian American Studies offered. So, like, I was a TA for Merle Woo, who is a fairly well-known writer in Asian American studies. And yeah, so she was, I would say, is kind of my conduit into, or influence in Asian American studies. Because she had a lot more knowledge of things, she'd been more active in the movement. Like the fall of the I-Hotel happened in '77, I think, summer of '77. So her aunt lived in the I-Hotel, and she was in the group that was there on eviction night, so she was inside sitting in on one of the stairwells, although there were four hundred people with arms locked outside. The county sheriff brought in four hundred officers, TAC squad guys and police on horses to break up the external barrier, and they dragged everybody out.

BY: Do you have any kids?

SS: Yes, I have two kids. The oldest one is Kiyoshi, he was born in 1987, and the youngest is Misa, who was born in 1990.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2022 Densho. All Rights Reserved.