Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Janann Sherman


From 1924 to 1960 some of Hawai`i's public schools were segregated institutions. Unlike the segregated schools of the mainland, the main goal of the English Standard schools, as they were known, was to ensure that English-speaking children be taught in environments free from Pidgin and other native languages spoken by the majority of Hawai`i's school children. Because this segregation was linguistically-based, it was possible for children of all races and ethnicities to attend English Standard schools, but there can be no doubt that they were heavily dominated by white students in the early years of the program, much to the satisfaction of many whites throughout the Islands. Over time, though, this would change as more and more non-white students gained admission. Even though this was true, it was clear that Hawaiians were not entirely comfortable with the process of segregating students, and this was increasingly the case as the Territory of Hawai`i inched closer and closer to Statehood. This study is particularly concerned with the collective identity that developed in the period between the various groups of peoples on the Islands including: Chinese, Japanese, Native Hawaiian, Korean, Puerto Rican, and Portuguese, among others. Further, this work offers insight into the process undergone by these people as they moved from their own separate identities to a collective Hawaiian one, whose cornerstone was and continues to be the language of Pidgin. A myriad of primary and secondary sources were consulted concerning the protests, support, and ambivalence the segregated schools were met with by administrators, parents, and students. The result is a window into the process whereby Hawaiians made clear what they were willing to accept from the mainland, and what was simply too foreign and too at odds with the collective Hawaiian identity that had developed in the period. Indeed, Hawaiians, by phasing out the tracking of students into separate schools and classrooms based on their mastery of proper English by 1960, would highlight the fact that separation was unacceptable in the new state of Hawai`i. Ultimately, the practice stood in sharp contrast to what they envisioned for themselves as both Hawaiians and Americans.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.