What Hawaii Taught This Midwesterner About Her Own Identity

A Nebraska Historian Explores a State's Racial Hierarchy Through the Lives of Missionary Children

I was 16 when I first visited the islands. A skinny, white girl with a bad perm, I became red as a lobster after spending one week on Maui.

I wasn’t interested in the history of our 50th state at the time, yet on Oahu something important happened to me. Walking through shops and outdoor malls in downtown Honolulu, I saw for the first time a multiethnic society very different from my own Midwestern home. Up until that day my conception of America was of a place filled with people …