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California Historical Society Presentation with "Fred Korematsu Speaks Up" Authors & George Omi

  • CALIFORNIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY 678 Mission Street San Francisco, CA, 94105 United States (map)

Perspectives on Japanese American Incarceration

Fred Korematsu was a 23-year-old welder living in Oakland when the U.S. government forced Japanese Americans from their homes into desolate camps. Korematsu defied the order, and his legal challenge resulted in an infamous Supreme Court decision. Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi, co-authors of “Fred Korematsu Speaks Up,” a new biography for young readers, will discuss the civil rights hero’s life, its relevance today, and their work to share his story with students. They will be joined by Karen Korematsu, Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, who will explain the Institute’s efforts to connect Korematsu’s story with current discrimination against Muslims.

San Francisco native George Omi was 11 years old when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. In his award-winning memoir “American Yellow,” he recounts how his immigrant parents built a successful dry-cleaning business, only to lose it when they are ordered to leave San Francisco and eventually imprisoned in Rohwer, Arkansas. Omi will read from his book and provide a first-hand account of the dark days after Pearl Harbor.

About the Speakers

Laura Atkins
 is an author, teacher, and children’s book editor who worked at Children’s Book Press, Orchard Books, and Lee & Low Books. With an MA in Children’s Literature and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, she co-wrote Fred Korematsu Speaks Up, and is the author of the light-hearted picture book, "Sled Dog Dachshund." Passionate about diversity and equity in children’s books, Laura is based in Berkeley, California.

George Omi was a successful landscape architect before pursuing a writing life after retiring. His first book “American Yellow” won 1st Place in Writers Digest’s contest for self-published books. He has also won a SouthWest Writers’ Conference award for his novel “Oyakoko.” He is lives in Mill Valley and is currently working on three books, sequels to “American Yellow.”