On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which gave the military broad powers to ban any citizen from a coastal area stretching from Washington state to California and extending inland into southern Arizona. For the next four years, more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry—77,000 of them American citizens—were removed from this area and incarcerated indefinitely without criminal charges or trial. Forty-six years and eight presidents later, on August 10, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 into law. This law acknowledged the injustice of the evacuation, relocation, and internment of United States citizens and permanent residents of Japanese ancestry during World War II. The half-century long journey from internment to reparations represents a case study in both the violation of civil liberties by the federal government and the right to petition that government for a redress of grievances.
These resources in this unit highlight the story of internment and redress through two collections at HSP - the Iwata Family Papers and the papers of Philadelphia activist Sumiko Kobayashi, that represent the experience of internees who were relocated, and those who led in the movement for redress.