Fred T. Korematsu and the Pursuit of Justice: traveling exhibit in the Library through March 15

Fred T. Korematsu and Family, date unknown.

Courtesy of the family of Fred T. Korematsu -

Fred T. Korematsu and Family, date unknown.

The NSC Library is pleased to host the traveling exhibit, Fred T. Korematsu and the Pursuit of Justice, now on loan courtesy of the Law Library of the Seattle University School of Law. See the exhibit in the North Seattle College Library until Thursday, March 15, 2018. The Korematsu exhibit will be followed by Ancestry is Not a Crime: A Tribute to Gordon Hirabayashi, April 30-May 31, 2018. Both travelling exhibits provide an opportunity to learn about Japanese American removal and incarceration legal cases from World War II, and reflect on their impact in this country today.

Fred Korematsu was a 22-year-old welder in Oakland, California, in 1942 when General DeWitt issued Civilian Exclusion Order No. 34.  Mr. Korematsu’s refusal to comply with the WWII evacuation order led to his arrest on May 30, 1942. His fight against the mass removal of Japanese Americans resulted in one of the most infamous cases in Supreme Court history.   

Forty years later, in the early 1980s, Mr. Korematsu reopened his case and had his conviction cleared on proof that the government suppressed, altered, and destroyed material evidence before the wartime Supreme Court.  Through photographs, archival documents, and quotes, the Fred T. Korematsu and the Pursuit of Justice exhibit tells Mr. Korematsu’s story and explores the continued relevance of his fight for justice.

Gordon Hirabayashi was a young student at the University of Washington in 1942.  He also resisted the orders that led to the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans. The Supreme Court upheld his conviction, and he, like Mr. Korematsu, successfully gained the vacation of his conviction in the 1980s.  The Ancestry is Not a Crime: A Tribute to Gordon Hirabayashi exhibit uses photographs, personal documents, quotes, news items, and legal documents to tell Mr. Hirabayashi’s story.  The exhibit addresses his youth, the legal cases, his personal life, and the legacy of his legal victory. Of Civil Wrongs & Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story, a three-minute documentary film about Mr. Korematsu is available here: .

The exhibits draw on archival material from many institutions, including the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, the National Archives, the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry, the Densho Digital Archive, and the University of Washington Special Collections, as well as photographs and other content from the Korematsu and Hirabayashi families.

Thanks to: the Law Library of the Seattle University School of Law; and the North Seattle College Day of Remembrance Committee, led by North faculty members Lydia Minatoya and Paul Kurose.

Posted on: March 2nd, 2018 at 09:37:13

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