Densho Digital Archive
Loni Ding Collection
Title: Dan Aoki Interview
Narrator: Dan Aoki
Interviewer: Loni Ding
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: March 25, 1983
Densho ID: denshovh-adan-01-0002

<Begin Segment 2>

DA: Well, this is the old, new capital of Hawaii, it was built about ten years after we became a state. This represents Hawaii, and I think you can see it's a unique building, it's not like the usual state capitols of the United States, they don't have a dome and all of that. But it's supposed to represent the open ceiling and unlimited opportunities for the people of Hawaii. I presume that was the intent of this building here.

I: What does statehood really mean? Does it mean opportunities?

DA: As I said, before statehood, we had no opportunities, no chance here. Basically, I might put it this way, we were second class citizens.

I: How so?

DA: Well, this was strictly for the white people. I understand on the mainland it was only for the whites here, and the whites this and that. But we didn't have such things here. However, there was unwritten law that this was only for the whites, and we couldn't go there, we couldn't do this or do that.

I: How did statehood change that?

DA: But statehood changed everything. And thanks to Mr. Burns, who had the foresight and everything else, because I would honestly say that before Mr. Burns, all the efforts that were made in Congress, the people were not interested in statehood. Because statehood completely changed everything here in Hawaii. Gave us, well, as Mr. Burns said, "We can now determine our own destiny." And prior to that, we couldn't even elect our own governor. We had a governor that was appointed by the President of the United States. But now we have, we elect our own people, our own governor, and make our own laws now like you do in your state in California or any other place. So we changed the laws to suit ourselves rather than have to live by the laws of the people here, the white people used to set for us. And, you might say, that we upgraded our university from a third-grade university as I said, to a first-class university. We even have a medical school, we even have a law school. These things have really opened the horizons for the people of Hawaii.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1983 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.