Civil rights activist Fred Korematsu, a Japanese Americans from Oakland who stood against US and military law designated an internment camp for Japanese descent during World War II, honored by Google Doodle on Monday what would have been his 98th birthday. Fred korematsu day
Who is Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu (是松 豊三郎 Korematsu Toyosaburō?, January 30, 1919 – March 30, 2005)
Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu was an American civil rights activist who objected to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
Shortly after the Imperial Japanese Navy launched its attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized that individuals of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast were to be removed from their homes and forced to live in internment camps, but Korematsu instead challenged the orders and became a fugitive.
To commemorate his journey as a civil rights activist, the “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution” was observed for the first time on January 30, 2011, by the state of California, the first such commemoration for an Asian American in the United States.
In 2015, Virginia passed legislation to make it the second state and first commonwealth to permanently recognize each January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day.
Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the infamous Executive Order 9066, which forced about 115,000 American citizens of Japanese descent to live in designated military zones. The internment is now seen as an ugly moment in American history, in which fear outweighed tolerance.
When was Fred Korematsus case?
Korematsu, the son of Japanese immigrants, refused to go into the government’s internment camps and was arrested and convicted of breaking military law.
With the help of the ACLU, Korematsu appealed in the landmark Supreme Court case of Korematsu v. United States, but On Dec. 17, 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Korematsu v. United States that the denial of civil liberties based on race and national origin was legal. Fred Korematsu (Jan. 30, 1919–Mar. 30, 2005), a U.S. citizen and the son of Japanese immigrants, had refused to evacuate when President Roosevelt ordered the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. Korematsu was arrested, convicted, and sent to the Topaz Internment Camp in Utah.
Korematsu’s conviction was overturned in 1983 when evidence came to light that showed the FBI knew there was no serious evidence that America’s Japanese population was helping the enemy. TIME wrote:
The Supreme Court precedent would still stand, but the judge who cleared Korematsu’s conviction declared in her ruling that, in the words of the report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation, “Korematsu lies overruled in the court of history.”
Korematsu remained an activist throughout his life, becoming a member of the National Coalition for Redress and Reparations, where he lobbied for a bill that would grant an official apology from the government and compensation of $20,000 for the Japanese Americans who were held in internment camps.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the reparations legislation and redress into law.
President Bill Clinton awarded Korematsu the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998. The medal is seen in the Google Doodle drawn by Sophie Diao, who is also a child of Asian immigrants. Korematsu’s birthday, Jan. 30, is now officially recognized as Fred Korematsu Day in Hawaii, Virginia, California and Florida