2017 : Fred Korematsu Born

January 30, 2023 all-day
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House Minority Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) and Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) have introduced a bill and resolution that would commemorate the efforts of former Detroit resident Fred Korematsu.

During World War II, as many as 120,000 Japanese Americans were placed in internment camps. Korematsu, seeing this policy directly violated the constitution, refused to relocate and brought his fight against Japanese internment camps to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Singh’s HB 4110 would establish Fred Korematsu Day in Michigan to be commemorated each year on Jan. 30, Korematsu’s birthday.

Chang’s HR 11 calls for Jan. 30, 2017, to be declared Fred Korematsu Day in Michigan. Singh and Chang made similar efforts last year (See “Asian Pacific Caucus Wants Permanent Recognition For Japanese-American,” MIRS, 1/27/16).

At a time when many Americans don’t feel safe on the basis of their race, country of origin, or religion, the legacy of Fred Korematsu is more important than ever. In 2014, the United States Commission on Civil Rights urged the President and Congress to establish national holidays honoring Cesar Chavez and Fred Korematsu, but to date nothing has been establish. Hawaii, Virginia, and Florida have established Fred Korematsu Day in perpetuity. It is time to establish it on a national level. Let’s send a message that Americans values civil liberties and our constitution by making a national Fred Korematsu Day.

More about Fred Korematsu.

On Jan. 30, 1919, former Detroit resident Fred Korematsu was born in Oakland, Calif., the third of four sons of Japanese immigrant parents who ran a floral nursery business. Korematsu is known for challenging in court his detainment in the U.S.-based internment camps during World War II for those of Japanese ancestry.

After his release, he moved to Detroit, where his younger brother lived. There, he met his soon-to-be wife, Kathryn, a student at Wayne State University who was originally from South Carolina. They moved back to San Francisco in 1949.

While losing originally in the courts, Korematsu’s conviction was overturned by a federal court judge in 1983,  and he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998.

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Source : MIRS, January 26 and 30, 2017.

Fred Korematsu Day update.

For more information see Of civil wrongs and rights : the Fred Korematsu Story / a film by Eric Paul Fornier.  MSU Digital/Multimedia Center KF7224.5 .O4 2000 VideoDVD