"If you have the feeling that something is wrong, don't be afraid to speak up."
Happy Fred Korematsu Day! On this day, January 30, we celebrate the life and legacy of civil rights icon Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu. And at long last, Google has honored Mr. Korematsu's birthday — officially designated "Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution" — with a hallowed homepage Doodle. All things considered, the timing could not be more appropriate.
After Franklin D. Roosvelt signed Executive Order 9066 in 1942, more than 100,000 people of Japanese descent were forcibly removed from the west coast and relocated to internment camps throughout the United States. Fred Korematsu, however, did not go quietly. He was arrested and convicted for resisting incarceration. He appealed and took his case all the way to the Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States, but lost.
But in 1983, the U.S. District Court in San Francisco formally vacated Korematsu's conviction after evidence came to light that disputed the necessity of the internment. At the time, he told Judge Marilyn Patel that instead of a legal pardon, he wanted to be assured the U.S. government would never again take such an action.
"If anyone should do any pardoning," Korematsu said, "I should be the one pardoning the government for what they did to the Japanese American people."