Harry Lehua Kamoku left home at age sixteen and worked as a seaman for a dozen years before returning to the Big Island to organize waterfront workers into a union in the 1930s. Of Hawaiian-Chinese ancestry, Kamoku and his fellow union pioneers on the Hilo docks have been credited with forming the first multi-ethnic union in Hawaii. On August 4, 1938 Kamoku led 250 union members and their families in a picket against a “scab”-run inter-island ship. Fifty people, including women and a child were shot by police. This event is known as the “Hilo Massacre.”
To find out more about Kamoku and the Hilo Massacre read The Hilo Massacre: Hawaii’s Bloody Monday, August 1, 1938 by William J. Puette, University of Hawaii Press.