Johnny Wilson: First Hawaiian Democrat
Entrepreneur, impresario, engineer: Johnny Wilson was all of these, in addition to being one of Hawai'i's most formidable politicians. This is the first biography of John Henry Wilson, whose career spanned the first half of the twentieth century and the wide gulf between Hawaiian monarchy and Hawai'i statehood. Born in 1871, the son of Queen Liliuokalani's marshal, the part-Hawaiian, part-Tahitian, part-Scot, part-Irish road contractor cum music promoter ran for his first political office at age forty-seven, as a reluctant senatorial candidate for the Democratic party – at the time known as “the party of the unwashed.”
Wilson lost the race but went on to win many others, serving as Democratic national committeeman for three decades and as mayor of Honolulu for fourteen years between 1920 and 1954.” “Many facets of Wilson's life dramatize that colorful transition period in Hawai'i's history. As the son of a royal official, Wilson harbored his own ideas about the revolt that overthrew the monarchy. His diaries provide important historical information about early Hawaiian music and dance. The dreams and accomplishments of this early union sympathizer and founder of Hawai'i's Democratic party constitute a unique political history of the territory almost in its entirety. In his familiar, engaging style, veteran newspaper reporter Bob Krauss has recorded the legend of Johnny Wilson.