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Timeline of Discrimination of Japanese in America
Timeline 1868: The 14 th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution makes citizens of anyone born in the U. S. 1870: Congress makes "persons of African descent" eligible for naturalized citizenship, but Asians remain "aliens ineligible for citizenship. " This forms the basis for statutory discrimination against the Issei, first-generation Japanese immigrants, at both the federal and state levels until 1952. 1890: The first Japanese immigrants arrive in the U. S.
Timeline 1920’s: The numbers of Japanese American families had grown significantly. Through hard work and thrifty living, a high percentage of families successfully became owners of small businesses or farms and no longer had to do migratory work. Discriminatory laws during this time denied the Japanese the right to own land to marry outside of their race. Some could only send their children to segregated schools. In addition, they could not buy homes in certain areas and were barred from jobs in certain industries. Issei get around the law by buying land in the names of their American-born children, the Nisei.
Timeline 1924: The Immigration Act of 1924 bars entry to any person "ineligible to citizenship, " thereby stopping further immigration from Japan to the U. S. The last boat from Japan carries to America. The reasons for the anxiety in California were varied. Much opposition came from a white majority that was simply distrustful of people with different appearances, languages and customs. Others feared the impact of foreign laborers on a tight labor market. However, dislike of the Japanese was especially acute because of a strong work ethic that enabled many of them to succeed in their business ventures and accumulate large land holdings.
Timeline 1930: August - Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) holds first national convention in Seattle, Washington. Only the Nisei, second-generation Japanese Americans born in the U. S. as citizens, can belong 1940: Congress enacts the Selective Service Act, creating America's first peacetime draft. 3, 500 Nisei are drafted in the first year.
Timeline 1941: December 7 The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor draws the United States into World War II. Mike Masaoka, the leader of the JACL is picked up by the FBI in North Platte, Nebraska speaking to a group of Japanese Americans. Masaoka is released the next day, but on the West Coast, the FBI arrests 1, 300 Issei leaders identified as potentially dangerous enemy aliens. Some JACL leaders boast of turning in the names of Issei as proof of their loyalty to America. (Remember: JACL members were Nisei- 2 nd generation. )
Timeline 1941: February 19 President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, allowing the forced exclusion of all persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast solely on the basis of race
Japanese Internment Camps
Illustration of Camp Harmony
Wanto Grocery, owned by an Asian American, UC Berkeley graduate. (California, December 1941)
Reading evacuation orders on a bulletin board in Los Angeles. These families will have as little as one week to report to the relocation center. (1942) Library of Congress.
Dorothea Lange, “One Nation Indivisible. ” Pledge of Allegiance at Rafael Weill Elementary School a few weeks prior to evacuation. (San Francisco, 1942)
Japanese Americans register for internment at the Santa Anita reception center in Los Angeles. (1942) Library of Congress
Evacuees waiting with their luggage at the old train station in Los Angeles, CA. The train will take them to Owens Valley. (April 1942) Library of Congress
Japanese Americans waiting to board the train that will take them to the internment camp in Owens Valley. (April 1942)
“All Packed Up and Ready to Go” Editorial Cartoon, San Francisco News (March 6, 1942)
Family arriving in internment camp barracks, from the Tacoma New Tribune, University of Washington. (no date)
An American Soldier on guard duty at an internment camp holds a Japanese American child. Tacoma News Tribune, University of Washington.
Internment camp mess hall. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, University of Washington.
Byron, Takashi Tsuzuki, Forced Removal, Act II, 1944. Japanese American National Museum Collection.
G. S. Hante, a barber in Kent, Washington, displays his sentiments about internment. (March 1944)
Korematsu v. United States (1944) To many Japanese-Americans and others, Korematsu was a civil rights icon whorisked not only the legal wrath of his own government, but also the scorn of his ownpeople when in 1944 he challenged the internment of 120, 000 Japanese-Americans. Born in Oakland, he was one of four sons of Japanese immigrants who owned a flower nursery. When ordered to go to detention camp, Korematsu refused because he believed that Executive Order 9066, signed by President Roosevelt, violated his constitutional rights. Korematsu, a 23 -year-old welder at the time, went into hiding briefly, altering his face with plastic surgery. He was soon arrested in San Leandro, Calif. In May 1942, he was convicted in federal court of violating the presidential order. He appealed. In the now-infamous 1944 case, Korematsu vs. United States, cited in every constitutional law textbook, the U. S. Supreme. Court ruled that the mass detention of Japanese-Americans was justified by national security concerns. . At the time, it was a deep disappointment to young Korematsu. But some Japanese-Americans thought he was unpatriotic. After losing the case, Korematsu resigned himself to internment camp. In 1982, three young Japanese-American lawyers in San Francisco approached the feisty Korematsu and persuaded him to take his case back to court. Minami, Karen Kai and Don Tamaki were energized by their own parents and grandparents who had been interned. The following year, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of U. S. District Court in San Francisco overturned Korematsu's conviction, citing government misconduct through suppression, alteration and burning of evidence, race discrimination, lack of military necessity, and manifest injustice. "We were not only trying to reverse a very bad legal precedent, " recalled Don Tamaki, "but we were also trying to vindicate our families. "To Tamaki, "the case represented the trials that Japanese-Americans never had. ""Fred was a giant in our community and a man who fought not only for the civil rights for Japanese-Americans but for all Americans, " Minami said. Korematsu's case paved the way for the landmark 1988 Civil Liberties Act, when the U. S. government acknowledged that the detention of Japanese-Americans was wrong, and apologized. In 1998, President Clinton awarded Korematsu with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor. ---
Apology & Reparations Years after the harsh persecution, lives lost, and pain a simple apology and a sum of $20, 000 we're offered to to each of the families. George H. W. Bush’s apology to Japanese Americans held in the internment camps. (1988)
Sources of Information: • http: //www. vancouver. wsu. edu/crbeha/ja/ja. htm • http: //www. u-s-history. com/pages/h 1069. html • Fred Korematsu information: BY JESSIE MANGALIMAN AND L. A. CHUNG Knight Ridder Newspapers © 2005, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif. ).