Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Yuri Kochiyama Interview
Narrator: Yuri Kochiyama
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Oakland, California
Date: July 21, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-kyuri-01-0011

YK: And I got a job as a waitress; I loved that job. And it was the first time I'm working with just black people, mostly the waitresses, so they were women, but there were waiters, too. And I finally, I asked... two of the guys were from the South. And so I mentioned to them that I lived a year and a half in Mississippi, and at a USO which serviced everybody, but no black soldiers came in. And so they said, "What was the address?" I gave the address, I couldn't forget, 222 Pine, he said, "That's the main drag. No black soldiers, even wearing a uniform, can go in anywhere on the main drag." They could not go on Pine Street or Main Street. I was shocked. Then, for the first time, it made me think more what America was about, the segregation. Then I got really interested and wanted to find out everything I could about what black people have gone through. And it made me ashamed when I could think of Asians were just as racist as whites towards blacks, anyway. That changed me.

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