Explore the Japanese American Internment
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Post War Photo
On August 10, 1988, 46 years after President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the internment, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, providing for an official governmental apology, individual redress payments and a public education fund so that this injustice would never be forgotten or repeated.



While the previous two sections focus on roughly five years (1941 – 1945), this last section spans over fifty years: from the post-World War II period up to the present.

Post War PhotoThe audio and video clips which follow give a glimpse of how the Japanese American community struggled to survive after incarceration, became active citizens and persevered in a decades-long journey to redress the constitutional violations suffered during World War II.

Collectively, these stories demonstrate the power and fragility of the Constitution and the role of ordinary individuals in making the document meaningful.



2:37 Min.
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Ex-internee and redress activist Sox Kitashima reads part of a Day of Remembrance speech with bass and taiko accompaniment on composer Jon Jang's recording "Never Give Up!"

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This section also refers to the impact of mass incarceration on generations of Japanese American families, and the continuing efforts of a community to heal the spiritual, cultural and psychological wounds of internment.

The final sections challenge us in the present: Can the internment happen again? To any group of people? What have we as a nation learned? In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent bombing of Afghanistan, this question has been asked at the highest levels of the U.S. government and in the mainstream media.

How can we ensure that the principles of civil liberties for all are upheld in the course of preserving national security? Is there a way to maintain both? Is either ever expendable?

More than ever before, the story and lessons of the Japanese American internment during World War II have become essential American history for all to learn and discuss.

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