Lorraine K. Bannai will discuss her book “Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice” on Saturday, June 4, at 2 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum’s Tateuchi Democracy Forum, 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo.
In 1942, 22-year-old Fred Korematsu refused to comply with orders that culminated in the forced removal of over 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast, resulting in Korematsu v. United States — one of the most infamous cases in Supreme Court history. The court affirmed his conviction, holding that the mass removal of Japanese Americans was justified by military necessity.
Forty years later, Korematsu successfully reopened his case on proof that the wartime government had lied to the court, helping to pave the way for redress for the Japanese American community.
Korematsu went on to travel the country to speak about his case and warn against sacrificing civil liberties during times of perceived crisis — lessons even more relevant today as some in the country have turned on Muslims, persons of Middle Eastern descent, and those perceived to look like them following recent terrorist attacks.
For his efforts, Korematsu was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton in 1998.
Bannai was an attorney on the legal team that successfully pursued Korematsu’s 1983 coram nobis case. Her compelling book tells Korematsu’s story and explores the ways in which his case and the wartime incarceration continue to be relevant to American society today.
Free with museum admission. RSVPs are recommended. For more information, call (213) 625-0414 or visit www.janm.org.