Last Monday, January 30th, was Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. I didn’t know much about Fred Korematsu’s story before reading this brand-new book, Fred Korematsu Speaks Up, written by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi and illustrated by Yutaka Houlette. I’m so thankful, now, that I do.
I think that you will be, too.
The book shares the story of Fred, and second-generation Japanese American living on the West Coast during World War II, when the United States forced immigrants and citizens alike into internment camps. Fred resisted the order, and was jailed. The ACLU took up his case, which he eventually lost. He lost more than just the case. Many Japanese Americans turned on him, and he was officially considered a convicted felon. More than 40 years later, the ACLU decided to try his case again after finding new documents showing that the government had lied in his original case… and this time they won, setting an important precedent going forward. Fred knew what was happening was wrong and stood up against it. He was a changemaker.
Here’s an excerpt from the main text: