2024 Diverse Perspectives in Antitrust – A Reenactment of the Vietnamese Fishermen’s Association v. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Trial

January 16, 2024 – 1:30 PM-5:45 PMET

National Press Club


As part of the 2024 Diverse Perspectives in Antitrust Program, the Antitrust Law Section, Diversity. Advanced Committee is presenting a reenactment of the trial of Vietnamese Fishermen’s Association v. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a landmark civil rights case. Haug Partners Associate Aakruti Vakharia will be a part of the cast.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s, with the fall of Saigon and the United States withdrawing from Vietnam, many of the Vietnamese who had fought alongside Americans fled Vietnam and re-settled in the Gulf Coast, working in the shrimping industry. The white fishermen in the area undertook various actions to deter competition from the Vietnamese fishermen. These actions and skirmishes between white and Vietnamese fishermen led to arson and even deaths. In 1981, in response to invitation from white fishermen, armed KKK members tried to destroy Vietnamese-Americans’ fishing businesses by burning their boats, terrorizing them, and threatening their lives. The Southern Law Center filed a case on April 16, 1981 to stop the KKK’s campaign.

While Vietnamese Fishermen is a civil rights case, antitrust claims played an interesting and important role in the plaintiffs’ arguments, and ultimately formed a part of the court’s opinion in favor of the plaintiffs. Our reenactment of the 1981 trial, and our panel afterwards, will shed light on how antitrust claims may arise in the context of civil rights issues, and whether antitrust should play a role in resolving civil rights and diversity issues.

For more information on the case, please visit Southern Law Poverty Center’s website and the Asian Bar Association of New York’s website.

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