Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice

Hardcover | October 23, 2015

byLorraine K. Bannai

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Fred Korematsu’s decision to resist F.D.R.’s Executive Order 9066, which provided authority for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, was initially the case of a young man following his heart: he wanted to remain in California with his white fiancée. However, he quickly came to realize that it was more than just a personal choice; it was a matter of basic human rights.

After refusing to leave for incarceration when ordered, Korematsu was eventually arrested and convicted of a federal crime before being sent to the internment camp at Topaz, Utah.

He appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court, which, in one of the most infamous cases in American legal history, upheld the wartime orders. Forty years later, in the early 1980s, a team of young attorneys resurrected Korematsu’s case. This time, Korematsu was victorious, and his conviction was overturned, helping to pave the way for Japanese American redress.

Lorraine Bannai, who was a young attorney on that legal team, combines insider knowledge of the case with extensive archival research, personal letters, and unprecedented access to Korematsu his family, and close friends. She uncovers the inspiring story of a humble, soft-spoken man who fought tirelessly against human rights abuses long after he was exonerated. In 1998, President Bill Clinton awarded Korematsu the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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From the Publisher

Fred Korematsu’s decision to resist F.D.R.’s Executive Order 9066, which provided authority for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, was initially the case of a young man following his heart: he wanted to remain in California with his white fiancée. However, he quickly came to realize that it was more than just a p...

Lorraine K. Bannai is director of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality and professor of legal skills at Seattle University School of Law.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:312 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:October 23, 2015Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295995157

ISBN - 13:9780295995151

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Lorraine Bannai had a frontline position in the struggle for Japanese American inclusion, and her telling of one man's story is so much more than that. She shows that in times of crisis, the appeal of authoritarian, scapegoating rhetoric is a menace to democracy. The Korematsu story is about fighting back against fear and hate, thereby holding our nation to its highest ideals. - Mari Matsuda, author of Where is Your Body?: Essays on Race, Gender and the Law