Historian Mark Rawitsch, author of “The House on Lemon Street” (University of Colorado Press), will speak on Saturday, Aug. 3, at 2 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo.
The book is about California’s Harada family and their National Historic Landmark house in Riverside. In 1915, Jukichi and Ken Harada purchased the house on Lemon Street. Close to their restaurant, church, and children’s school, the house should have been a safe and healthy family home.
Before the purchase, white neighbors objected because of the Haradas’ Japanese ancestry, and the California Alien Land Law denied them real-estate ownership because they were not citizens. To bypass the law, Mr. Harada bought the house in the names of his three youngest children, who were American-born citizens.
Neighbors protested again, and the first Japanese American court test of the California Alien Land Law of 1913 — The People of California v. Jukichi Harada — was the result.
“The House on Lemon Street” details the Haradas’ decision to fight for the American dream. Chronicling their experiences from their immigration to the U.S. through their legal battle over their home, their incarceration during World War II, and their lives after the war, this book tells the story of the family’s participation in the struggle for human and civil rights, social justice, property and legal rights, and fair treatment of immigrants.
The Harada family’s quest for acceptance illuminates the deep underpinnings of anti-Asian animus, which set the stage for Executive Order 9066, and recognizes fundamental elements of the nation’s anti-immigrant history that continue to shape the American story. It will be worthwhile for anyone interested in the Japanese American experience in the 20th century, immigration history, public history, and law.
Rawitsch is dean of instruction at Mendocino College and a founding member of the Harada House National Historic Landmark Ad-Hoc Advisory Council of the City of Riverside.
This publication was made possible with the support of Naomi, Kathleen, Ken, and Paul Harada, who donated funds in memory of their father, Harold Shigetaka Harada, honoring his quest for justice and civil rights. Additional support was provided, in part, by UCLA’s Aratani Endowed Chair as well as Wallace T. Kido, Joel B. Klein, Elizabeth A. Uno, and Rosalind K. Uno.
The event is presented in collaboration with the George and Sakaye Aratani Endowed Chair, Asian American Studies Center, UCLA. This book is the first installment of the George and Sakaye Aratani Nikkei in America Series.
The book can be purchased from the Museum Store.
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