Sherman Wu


Sherman Wu

Sherman Hsiu-huang Wu (born 1937) is a Chinese American social activist and a former professor, whose experiences at Northwestern University brought the issue of discrimination against Asian Americans to the fore. [cite news | last =Wood | first = Percy | title = K.C. Wu Takes Post at College in South | pages = 11 | publisher = Chicago Tribune | date = May 9, 1965 ] The general condemnation of the prejudice exhibited against him presaged later actions in the Asian American civil rights movement.

Wu was born in China to K.C. Wu, a Chinese politician, and Edith Huang Wu."Obituaries: Edith Huang Wu"; Savannah Morning News, August 25, 2002. ( [http://www.lowcountrynow.com/stories/082502/OBITSindex.shtml] )] Wu was prevented from leaving Taiwan, where his father had served as governor, after the rest of his family had moved to the United States. K.C. Wu charged that this action was retaliation for his criticisms of the government of Chiang Kai-Shek. Eventually, however, Wu was allowed to leave. cite news | title = 'Chinese Boy' Is Barred by Fraternity | pages = A11 | publisher = The Washington Post and Times Herald | date = November 1, 1956]

Sherman Wu is best known because of the song "The Ballad of Sherman Wu", which appeared on the Pete Seeger recording "Gazette". The lyrics to the song are available at [http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=3918#29432?threadid=3918 The Mudcat Cafe] .

Experience with discrimination by Northwestern University fraternity

Wu attempted to pledge at the Psi Upsilon fraternity at Northwestern University in the Fall of 1956. After originally being told that he would be able to join the fraternity, he was "depledged" after his fellow pledges objected to someone of Chinese ancestry joining the organization. [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,824580,00.html TIME ] ] Wu wrote a letter to The Daily Northwestern, the campus newspaper, criticizing the actions of the fraternity. cite news | title = N.U. Fraternity Ousts Wu's Son Because of His Race | pages = 2 | publisher = Chicago Daily Tribune | date = October 31, 1956 ] Wu wrote that his depledging was "just one of those cases that are based on a few people's ignorance and prejudice."

Psi Upsilon representatives stated that, "Having an Oriental in the house would degrade [the fraternity] in the eyes of other fraternities and make it more difficult to get dates from the sororities." cite book |last=Pridmore |first=Jay |title=Northwestern University: Celebrating 150 Years |year=2000 |publisher=Northwestern University Press |location=Evanston, Illinois |id=ISBN 978-0-8101-1829-4 |pages=197] As then-fraternity president Jack H. Lageschulte put it, "we felt he would be a detriment." Lageschulte also said that all seven other freshmen pledges objected.cite news | title = Formosan Ousted by U.S. Frat | publisher = Oakland Tribune | date = October 31, 1956]

The Daily Northwestern called for the interfraternity council to investigate the depledging, and the student government of Northwestern University criticized the actions of the fraternity.cite news | title = N.U. Students Rip Fraternity on Wu Ouster | pages = B9 | publisher = Chicago Daily Tribune | date = November 1, 1956 ] The Northwestern University branch of the American Association of University Professors issued a statement calling the depledging "completely contrary to the democratic ideals for which the AAUP stands" and "deplorable."cite news | title = Ban on Chinese Studied | pages = 25 | publisher = New York Times | date = November 3, 1956]

Psi Upsilon's action became national news when written about by Time magazine. The actions of the fraternity were criticized by Upton Sinclair, among others. [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,808700-3,00.html TIME ] ] In the wake of the publicity, two other fraternities offered to pledge Wu. [ cite book |last=Daniels |first=Roger |title=Asian America: Chinese and Japanese in the United States Since 1850 |year=1990 |publisher=University of Washington Press |location=Seattle, Washington |id=ISBN 978-0-295-97018-9 |pages=300] The dean of students, James McLeod, took no action to force the Psi Upsilon to rescind its decision, saying that "the fraternity is a student organization which has its own rules." The president of the university, J. Roscoe Miller, stated that the university would not interfere with the selection of fraternity members.Fraternities at the university continued to practice racial discimination until the mid-1960s.

Later life

Wu remained at Northwestern and received his bachelor's degree in 1961. He later also received a master of science degree in 1963 and a doctorate in 1965, both still at Northwestern. [ [http://www.dailynorthwestern.com/media/storage/paper853/news/2006/10/30/Forum/Letters.To.The.Editor-2408790-page2.shtml Letters To The Editor - Forum ] ] After completing his PhD, Wu worked in various space industries.He contributed to the design of reaction jet control system for the Apollo mission and digital auto-pilot for the ABM and other tactical missiles. He later became a professor at Marquette University in the Department of Electrical Engineering. [cite conference | first = Sherman | last = Wu | coauthors = Anthony Sances, Jr. | title = Nonlinear Mathematical Model of Isometric Muscle Twitch | booktitle = Abstracts Annual Meeting | pages = 117 | publisher = Biophysical Society] He married Julianne Lezotte Wu, a native of Wisconsin and a journalist. Following his retirement, he settled in Clearwater, Florida.

References

*http://alumni.northwestern.edu/1958/memories.html
*cite conference | first = Sherman | last = Wu | title = Digital Filter Design and Stability of a Predictor-Corrector Integration | booktitle = Annual Simulation Symposium, Proceedings of the 13th Annual Symposium on Simulation | pages = 247-256 | publisher = IEEE Press| date = 1980
location = Piscataway, NJ


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