“In this diverse society, we should not isolate ourselves socially, politically, economically or physically.”
~Daniel K. Inouye, Senator, U.S. Congress
November 21, 1958: Maui County Board of Supervisors Resolution 84
Representing 42,597 citizens of Maui County the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Resolution 84, stating that they
“…respectfully request and urge the Congress of the United States to grant immediate statehood to the Territory of Hawaii…”
The Goal was Democracy
Hawaii was officially proclaimed the 50th state of the United States by President Eisenhower on August 21, 1959. The presidential action was followed by the unfurling of a new fifty-star flag, which became official the following Independence Day.
Much of the decades-long opposition to Hawaii statehood came from Southern members of Congress who took a dim view of the mixed racial strains of Hawaii’s population. But in mid-March 1959 Congress approved Hawaii’s statehood bill setting up the required plebiscite and statehood elections. This action extended the rights and benefits of full American citizenship to an isolated group of islands with a multi-ethnic population. Observers called it the first major piece of civil rights legislation to be passed by the postwar Congress.
It had been a long journey to statehood for approximately 500,000 citizens of the Territory of Hawaii who finally had the opportunity to vote on the Admissions Act of 1959, and to elect, for the first time, their own judges, governor, senators, representatives and president.