State Bar of Michigan
home member area contact us

michigan legal milestones

milestone home




Legal Milestone List

  The Great Ferris Fire
  Berrien County Courthouse
  Elloitt-Larsen Civil Rights Act
  Milliken v. Bradley
  Elk, Oil, and the Environment
  Whisper to Rallying Cry
  Poletown & Eminent Domain
  Prentiss M. Brown
  Otis Milton Smith
  Freedom Road
  President Gerald R. Ford
  Mary Coleman
  Committee of One
  Milo Radulovich
  Striking Racial Covenants
  Murphy's Dissent
  Conveying Michigan
  Ending Jim Crow
  Pond's Defense
  Mount Clemens Pottery
  Emelia Schaub
  Rose of Aberlone
  Protecting the Impaired
  Laughing Whitefish
  The Uninvited Ear
  The King's Grant
  Improving Justice
  One Person—One Vote
  Eva Belles' Vote
  Constitutional Convention
  Ten Hours or No Sawdust
  Access to Public Water
  Augustus Woodward
  Sojourner Truth
  Justice William Fletcher
  Roosevelt-Newett Trial
  Cooley Law Office
  Baseball Reserve Clause
  Ossian Sweet Trial

34. From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry

The State Bar's 34th Michigan Legal Milestone commemorated the Vincent Chin case on June 19, 2009, at the Chinese Community Center in Madison Heights. Chin's beating death in 1982 in Highland Park and the lenient sentences meted out to his assailants, caused an outcry in the Asian American community and led to the birth of a civil and victims' rights movement.

Michigan Bar Journal


News Articles About Plaque Dedication

Photos from Plaque Dedication

Complete Text on Milestone Marker

From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry

"It's not fair"—were the last anguished words whispered by Vincent Chin as he lay dying—the victim of a hate crime on June 19, 1982. His words became a rallying cry for the Asian American community outraged at the lenient sentences his assailants received and, they spawned a civil rights movement.

On that fateful evening, Chin and three friends were celebrating his upcoming wedding at a bar in Highland Park. An argument broke out with two unemployed auto workers who blamed Asians for taking away their jobs.

After the group was kicked out of the bar, the two unemployed auto workers pursued and caught up with Chin and his friends on Woodward Avenue. While one held Chin, the other bludgeoned him with a baseball bat. Chin died four days later.

The assailants received three years' probation and a $3,000 fine for a pled down manslaughter charge. Later, federal civil rights cases against the two were appealed. Juries acquitted both of them.

Although Vincent Chin's killers were never imprisoned for their crimes, the case galvanized the Asian American community and led to the formation of various groups including American Citizens for Justice. The case also helped form the basis for state and federal changes on important legal issues dealing with hate crimes, minimum sentencing guidelines, and victims' rights.

Placed by the State Bar of Michigan and the Michigan Asian Pacific American Bar Association, June 19, 2009.



follow us
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on LinkedIn Follow Us on Twitter Follow the SBM Blog


©Copyright 2015

website links
Contact Us
Site Map
Website Privacy Statement PDF
Staff Links

SBM on the Mapcontact information
State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St
Lansing, MI 48933-2012
Phone: (517) 346-6300
Toll Free: (800) 968-1442
Fax: (517) 482-6248