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Biographies Unit Biographies

S.I. (Samuel Ichiye) Hayakawa 1906–1992
Educator and Senator

S.I. Hayakawa was an outspoken person who helped lead California in the 1960s and 1970s. Hayakawa was born in Canada. His parents were immigrants from Japan. When he grew up, he moved to the United States and became a college professor. In 1941 he wrote Language in Action, a book about how people use words in different ways. The book made Hayakawa famous. He went on to write many books about language.

In 1955, Hayakawa started teaching at San Francisco State College. In 1968, he became president of the college. That year, student protests against the Vietnam War forced the college to cancel classes. Hayakawa made national headlines when he called in police to force protests to stop. People who disagreed with the protests thought Hayakawa was a hero. In 1976, Californians elected him to the United States Senate.

Comprehension Check

What did Hayakawa write books about?

Critical Thinking

What effect did Hayakawa's standing up to the student protesters have?