The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, in partnership with the Philadelphia chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, presents a discussion and audience Q&A between constitutional scholar and author Kermit Roosevelt III and attorney and author David Lat in honor of Fred Korematsu Day. The event will take place at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania on Monday, January 30 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. This conversation will touch on the historic significance of the Japanese American civil rights leader Fred Korematsu, whose case Korematsu v. United States was used to test the constitutionality of Japanese internment, and his impact on today’s America. Registration is free and open to the public.
Kermit Roosevelt III is an author and a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. His areas of interest include conflicts of law and constitutional law, and he has been published in the Virginia Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, and the Columbia Law Review. His most recent novel, Allegiance, focuses on President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 and recaptures legal debates including Korematsu v. United States.
David Lat is an author, lawyer, and legal commentator. He is the founder and managing editor of Above The Law, and has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, New York Magazine, the New York Observer, and the Washingtonian. His most recent novel is Supreme Ambitions.
To register for this event, please visit our event page.
About the Japanese American Citizens League
Founded in 1929, the JACL is the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States. The JACL monitors and responds to issues that enhance or threaten the civil and human rights of all Americans and implements strategies to effect positive social change, particularly to the Asian Pacific American community. The Philadelphia chapter of the JACL was established as a consequence of the diaspora of Nikkei (Japanese Americans) from the West Coast of the United States as a result of events triggered by World War II. In Philadelphia, the Nikkei were a small group in a large urban area of non-Asian Pacific Americans, and its members worked to nurture Nikkei heritage and family traditions and to share them with others. In spite of the chapter’s small size, it has proudly contributed to the leadership and funding of the national JACL. For more information, visit www.phillyjacl.org.
About the Historical Society of Philadelphia
Founded in 1824 in Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania inspires people to create a better future through historical understanding. One of the oldest historical societies in the United States, it is home to some 600,000 printed items and more than 21 million manuscript and graphic items. Its unparalleled collections encompass more than 350 years of America’s history—from its 17th-century origins to the contributions of its most recent immigrants, including papers chronicling Japanese immigration from holdings of The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies. The society’s remarkable holdings together with its educational programming make it one of the nation’s most important special collections libraries: a center of historical documentation and study, education, and engagement. For more information, please visit www.hsp.org.
About Fred Korematsu Day
The Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution, held on January 30th, honors the legacy of Japanese American civil rights activist Fred Korematsu (January 30, 1919 – March 30, 2005). In 1942, Korematsu resisted internment following Executive Order 9066, which authorized the forced relocation and incarceration of Japanese Americans to guarded camps in the United States interior following the attack on Pearl Harbor. After Korematsu’s arrest, he became the test case to challenge the constitutionality of the government’s confinement without due process of Japanese Americans. After being tried and found guilty in federal court, Korematsu appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and on December 18, 1944, in a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that compulsory exclusion was justified during times of war (Korematsu v. United States).
Korematsu’s case was reopened in 1989 by a pro-bono legal team, and on November 10, 1983, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the U.S. District Court of Northern California in San Francisco formally overturned Korematsu’s conviction. He became a member of the National Coalition for Redress and Reparations, which successfully lobbied Congress to sign reparations legislation for Japanese Americans, and remained an outspoken critic of racial and religious discrimination, eventually receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 1998. Beginning in 2010, Fred Korematsu Day has been commemorated in California, Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia. For more information, please visit www.korematsuinstitute.org.