This week reports have emerged that Japanese-American civil rights activist Richard Aoki was actually an F.B.I. informant in the 1960s. Aoki’s confidant, saxophonist Fred Ho, refutes these claims. Ho, subject of our forthcoming book Yellow Power, Yellow Soul: The Radical Art of Fred Ho (April 2013), questions why Aoki stuck by his radical views decades later if he had infiltrated the Black Panthers. In that era of extensive federal spying on leftists movements, Aoki’s status not only exposes an issue in his legacy, but also reflects upon the historical relationship between African Americans and Asian Americans; whether they are truly allies or in effect adversaries.

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