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Richard Aoki (1938‐2009) was the face of Asian American political militancy in the late 60s and early 70s. Dubbed the Yellow Panther, Aoki was appointed the leadership position of Field Marshal within the Black Panther Party. He gained notoriety within the Party by supplying guns and training for their police patrols, and he was their most prominent non‐Black member. Aoki was also heavily involved with the Third World Liberation Front as well as a founding member of the Asian American Political Alliance that formed in May 1968 out of Berkeley.1 In short, he was “one of the most important political leaders bridging the Asian American, Black Power, and Third World movements.”2 In 2012, reporter Seth Rosenfeld of the San Francisco Chronicle accused Aoki of being an FBI informant over a 16‐year period that included his involvement with the BPP. 3 Many longtime friends, including Party co‐founder Bobby Seale came to Aoki’s defense as both the timing of Rosenfeld’s article and the FBI’s longtime practice of snitch‐jacketing were thrown into question. Despite recent declassification of additional files, Aoki’s involvement with the FBI remains in dispute and he is unable to speak for himself having died of a self‐inflicted gunshot wound in 2009.

1 Diance C. Fujino, Samurai Among Panthers: Richard Aoki on Race, Resistance, and Paradoxical Life (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), xi‐xiii.
2 Ibid. Also recited in special report by Momo Chang & R. J. Lozada, “Who Was Richard Aoki?,” Hypen Magazine, http:// www.hyphenmagazine.com/content/who‐ was‐richard‐aoki (2012).

3 Seth Rosenfeld, “Activist Richard Aoki Named as Informant,” San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Activist‐Richard‐Aoki‐named‐as‐ informant‐3800133.php#page‐1 (August 20, 2012). 

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