Triangles have three sides. The sun sets in the west. The United States is composed of 50 states. All are taken to be self-evident, but up until August 21, 1959, the latter was simply not true. Of course, that all changed when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation that allowed Hawaii to become a state exactly 56 years ago today.
Known for its lush, tropical landscape and best remembered as the site of the 1941 Pearl Harbor bombing, Hawaii adds much to the nation’s diversity: the state is the only one to grow coffee, and it supports about one-third of the world’s commercial supply of pineapples. But behind the state’s pristine beaches and tropical splendor lies a dark history of forced transformation.