Seventy-five years ago, in one of the darkest moments in American history, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. Immediately, the federal government began forcing 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps for fear they posed a threat to national security.
The documents would expose everything: the racism inherent in the president’s executive order, the cynical politics behind it, the lies told in court to defend it.
An exhibition about the World War Two internment of Japanese Americans in the United States has begun in Washington.
Feb. 19 marks the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066. Issued in the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt’s exclusionary edict laid the groundwork for the round-up and internment of all Japanese Americans living on the West Coast to be relocated to interior states as a “military necessity.”
In 1944, the majority of Supreme Court justices agreed that the nation’s security concerns outweighed the Constitution’s promise of equal rights.
When President Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning travel from seven majority Muslim countries, he hurled us back to one of the darkest and most shameful chapters of American history. Executive orders that go after specific groups under the guise of protecting the American people are not only unconstitutional, but morally wrong. My father, and so many other Americans of Japanese descent, were targets of just such an order during World War II.
Seventy-five years ago — on Feb. 19, 1942 — President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, a catalyst behind the forced removal and mass incarceration of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans. America was at war with Japan.
Seventy-five years ago an executive order issued by then-U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt uprooted the families of Japanese and Americans of Japanese ancestry, or Nikkei, who were removed from Western coastal regions in the U.S. and taken to remote, guarded camps.
The drive from the San Francisco Bay Area to Manzanar, the former Japanese-American internment camp in California’s remote Eastern Sierra region, takes about seven hours. There is no other way to get there, and there is no way to make the drive shorter. For most of the way, I listen to an audiobook: Rick Perlstein’s The Invisible Bridge, about the improbable rise of a B-movie actor to the presidency of the United States.
SAN FRANCISCO — “From Mass Incarceration of Japanese Americans to the Muslim Ban: Remembrance and the Continuing Fight for Justice” will be presented on Friday, Feb. 17, from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. at Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, 55 Columbus Ave. in San Francisco.