HSU Commemorates Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties - Humboldt State Now

HSU Commemorates Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties

Humboldt State University will observe the annual Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution with documentary films and a discussion of the history of Japanese American World War II internment camps on Monday, January 30 at 4 p.m. in the Library Fishbowl. The public is invited.

The documentaries are “Pilgrimage” directed by Tadashi Nakamura, “Days of Waiting” directed by Steven Okazaki, and “Children of the Camps” by Stephen Holsapple. Each screening will be followed by a facilitated discussion with HSU professors Guy Aronoff (History), Christina Accomando (Critical Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies), and Carrie Aigner (Psychology) with participation from local sansei – third generation Japanese-Americans – whose families were interned at various relocation camps during World War II.

Humboldt State’s Jan. 30 observance marks California’s decision in 2010 to designate January 30 as the annual anniversary honoring Korematsu for his lifelong fight for civil rights. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998 after he won a federal court case that overturned his conviction under President Roosevelt’s post-Pearl Harbor executive order. The order authorized the secretary of war and military commanders to incarcerate all individuals of Japanese ancestry in internment camps.

An Oakland native who worked as a youngster in his family’s flower business, Korematsu reported for military duty but the Navy rejected him due to stomach ulcers and he could find no employment after Pearl Harbor. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the legality of Roosevelt’s internment order, but Korematsu’s conviction was thrown out decades later with the disclosure of new evidence that had been withheld from the courts by the federal government during the war. The new evidence refuted the necessity of internment.

In the years before Korematsu’s death in 2005, he served on the Constitution Project’s bipartisan Liberty and Security Committee. The project is a think tank that advocates rule of law and criminal justice programs.
The HSU commemoration is co-hosted by Asian Desi Pacific Islander Collective (ADPIC); Associated Students, MultiCultural Center; the Library; and the CRGS, History, and Psychology departments.
For more information, please visit HSU Library News webpage: library.humboldt.edu/node/107