National Affairs: Living Proof

"Look at me," said the U.S. Representative-elect in a high-pitched, emotional voice. "I am a living proof of America's democracy." Dalip Singh Saund had good cause for his excitement: a native of India, Democrat Saund had just been elected to the House from California's longtime-Republican 29th District in the lush Imperial Valley—where Asians have not always been happily tolerated.

Saund defeated Republican Jacqueline Cochran Odium, who was herself born in abject poverty. She rose to fame as an aviatress, and to wealth as the wife of Financier Floyd Odium and as a highly successful businesswoman (cosmetics). But during the flamboyant campaign,...

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