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Freedom without Justice: The Prison Memoirs of Chol Soo Lee - Intersections: Asian and Pacific American Transcultural Studies (Paperback)
  • Freedom without Justice: The Prison Memoirs of Chol Soo Lee - Intersections: Asian and Pacific American Transcultural Studies (Paperback)
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Freedom without Justice: The Prison Memoirs of Chol Soo Lee - Intersections: Asian and Pacific American Transcultural Studies (Paperback)

(author), (editor), (series editor), (series editor)
£21.95
Paperback 384 Pages / Published: 30/05/2017
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Freedom without Justice is a compelling story of one man's wrongful incarceration and the actions he took to survive ten years in prison, while his supporters fought to win retrial and freedom. As a memoir, it is at once a captivating chronicle of his life with a trenchant description of how prisons end up producing the non-normativity they purport to prevent. This unusual story is part of an important chapter in the post-1964 history of Asian American activism.

Chol Soo Lee's saga begins against a backdrop of great historical change in Asian American communities following the passage of the 1965 Immigration Act. At the age of twelve, Chol Soo immigrated to the United States from South Korea to reunite with his mother, who had arrived earlier as a military bride. In less than a decade, Chol Soo finds himself labeled as a violent criminal, convicted, and incarcerated.

Quickly Chol Soo Lee became a rallying point for an extraordinary pan-Asian American movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and Freedom without Justice provides a rare and valuable glimpse into a pivotal moment in history when the Asian American movement united around one of its first major political campaigns. The Lee case brought together immigrants and American-born Asians in a common cause of justice and freedom. This alliance of supporters, organized under a national network of the Chol Soo Lee Defense Committee, included student activists, elderly immigrants, religious organizations, small business owners, white-collar professionals, social workers, lawyers, legal assistance organizations, and left-wing communist groups nationwide. In the end the united front that mobilized to attain social and legal justice for Chol Soo Lee was a remarkable coalition of people from a broad spectrum of social backgrounds that transcended ethnicity, class, political ideology, religion, generation, and language. This diverse grassroots social movement initiated and organized a six-year "Free Chol Soo Lee!" campaign that led to Lee's historic release from San Quentin's death row in 1983.

Incarcerated during a time when Asian American inmates were scarce, and Korean Americans even scarcer, Lee embodies social realities of race and class inequalities drawing readers into his social worlds-war-torn Korea, the streets of San Francisco, the criminal justice system, prison gang politics, and death row.

Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
ISBN: 9780824872885
Number of pages: 384
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This thought-provoking memoir compels readers to grapple with the reality that falsely convicted individuals are forced into a prison system that is designed to dehumanize and break men of their will, and where racially motivated gang warfare thrives. The contrast between Lee's treatment in prison and the dedicated support from strangers to seek a retrial and overturn his conviction represent both the worst and best of humanity. . . . This personal telling will appeal to a wide audience, including those interested in issues of race and society, criminal justice, and the treatment of immigrants.-- "Library Journal"
Chol Soo Lee has written a remarkable book, one with both popular appeal and scholarly importance. The book is both an eloquent chronicle of the author's conviction and incarceration for a crime he did not commit, a searing description of how prisons produce the non-normativity they purport to punish and prevent, and a recollection of an important chapter in the history of the Asian American movement.--George Lipsitz, University of California, Santa Barbara "Library Journal"

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