In this lesson, you learned about the Japanese American redress movement, a large-scale push for legislation that apologized for the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans. Legislation was one avenue through which Japanese Americans sought justice, but other people sought justice through the court system.
View the video above, which introduces one of the best-known Supreme Court cases filed by a former incarceree, Fred Korematsu. After watching the video, discuss the questions below with your classmates.
Note: In the video, Fred’s daughter, Karen, talks about Fred’s possible plan of “going east, even to Nevada, but the window had passed.” Here she is referring to the U.S. Army’s urging in March of 1942 of Japanese Americans to move from prohibited areas along the West Coast. This is sometimes referred to as a “voluntary evacuation.” This “voluntary evacuation” ended at the end of March when the mass removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans began. Also, in the video, Karen talks about Fred going “to Tanforan along with everyone else.” Tanforan was a temporary detention camp established by the U.S. Army to hold Japanese Americans forcibly removed from the West Coast until more permanent concentration camps were constructed. Tanforan was the site of a horse racing track and was referred to by the U.S. government as the Tanforan Assembly Center.
What are your thoughts on the stance that Fred Korematsu took regarding the evacuation order in 1942?
In your opinion, to what extent was justice served in the case of Fred Korematsu?
Do you think Korematsu v. United States is still relevant today? Explain.
If you would like to learn more about Fred Korematsu and his unique place in American history, visit: http://www.korematsuinstitute.org/