The day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, the FBI arrested the ailing father of a young Japanese-American woman named Yuri Kochiyama, suspecting he was a party to the plot. Despite having no hard evidence, the FBI held the elder Kochiyama for six weeks under stressful conditions; the day after his release, he died. Soon, daughter Yuri and the rest of her family were interned in concentration camps, first in California, then in Arkansas, where they stayed for the remainder of World War II.
The FBI caught black civil rights activist Angela Davis after a two-month nationwide manhunt in October 1970. In June, governor of California Ronald Reagan had fired her from a UCLA professorship for being an avowed Communist. Then, in August, after a third party killed a judge using a gun Davis had purchased, law enforcement issued a warrant for Davis’s arrest, despite having no other evidence of her involvement. Perhaps believing she couldn’t get a fair trial, she fled. In response, the FBI gave her a place on its “most wanted” list, making her just the third woman to achieve that dubious distinction. In 1972, she was tried and acquitted of all charges.
Both women endured, becoming important voices in various social justice movements. Tonight, the Ives Branch of the NHFPL (133 Elm St, New Haven; 203-946-8835) screens Mountains That Take Wing: Angela Davis & Yuri Kochiyama, capturing a thirteen-year dialogue between the two and weaving together some of modern America’s most formative moments. 5:30 p.m. Free.