Thursday, May 28, 2009

Remembering Dr. Ronald Takaki, 1939-2009

Dr. Ronald Takaki, 1939-2009
It is with great sadness that we would like to announce that UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Professor Ronald Takaki passed away on May 26 at his home.
Dr. Takaki, best known for his ground-breaking work ‘A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America’ , gave an excellent lecture at Cañada College entitled ‘Can an African American be Elected President of the United States?’ last October.
For those of who were unable to attend his historic lecture, it is available through Canada’s iTunesU page.
Alternatively, DVD copies are available for 2 hour and 1 day checkout.

Here is the press released from UC Berkeley News:

Ronald Takaki, pioneering scholar of race relations, dies at 70

By Yasmin Anwar, Public Affairs 27 May 2009

BERKELEY — Ronald Takaki, a professor emeritus of ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and prolific scholar of U.S. race relations who taught UC's first black history course, died at his home in Berkeley on Tuesday (May 26). He was 70.
During his more than four decades at UC Berkeley, Takaki joined the Free Speech Movement, established the nation's first ethnic studies Ph.D. program as well as Berkeley's American Cultures requirement for graduation, and advised President Clinton in 1997 on his major speech on race.
A descendent of Japanese plantation workers in Hawaii, Takaki left the islands in the late 1950s to study at Ohio's College of Wooster, where he earned a bachelor's degree. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in American history from UC Berkeley in 1967 and was hired at UCLA, where he taught the campus's first black history course. He joined Berkeley's Ethnic Studies department in 1971 and served as chair from 1975-77.
Among his numerous accolades for scholarship and activism, Takaki received a Pulitzer nomination for his book, "A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America" (Little Brown and Company, 1993); a Distinguished Teaching Award from UC Berkeley and the 2003 Fred Cody Award for lifetime achievement from the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association.
"When I think of Ron, the words that come to mind are: solidarity, justice, easy-going, self-effacing, generous, creative," said Beatriz Manz, chair of UC Berkeley's Department of Ethnic Studies. "He poked fun at himself and had a contagious laughter. He embodied kindness. He was agreeable, conciliatory and non-confrontational."
He is survived by his wife, Carol, his three children and his grandchildren. Plans for a campus memorial service are pending. A complete obituary will be posted on Thursday.


  1. Hello All!
    Dr. Takaki was one of the most
    impressive speakers I have ever
    witnessed. I was fortunate to be
    in the audience for his ethnic
    studies presentation. It was fun
    listening to him speak of his life's journey. I will remember
    everything he spoke of and recommend that everyone see or listen to his presentations.
    JLC(United Nations Ass. Member)

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