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Hawai'i occupies a distinct place in the history of race and identity in American history. In part because the Hawaiians continued under their own rule until the 1890s, with a royal family granted respect by the resident Americans and Europeans, the color prejudice that afflicted the distant mainland did not have the same effect on these islands ― despite the fact that the Hawaiians suffered the effects of colonization. This image in particular illustrates the determination of the Hawaiians to maintain their dignity and autonomy, despite the cultural, economic, and political power of the United States.

For a story about how the true identity of the person in this photograph wasuncovered, read "A Narrativeof Discovery," by Greg French.