Fred Korematsu Day In California 2024

Celebrate Fred Korematsu Day in California: A Hero's Legacy

Join us as we honour the legacy of Fred Korematsu on Fred Korematsu Day in California, a day of justice and civil rights activism.


  • Date: January 30
  • Main Components: Commemoration of Fred Korematsu’s birthday and his civil rights activism
  • Popularity: Celebrated in several states and recognized by many organizations and institutions
  • Pairings: Educational programs, cultural events, and civic engagement activities
  • Variations: Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution, Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Rights Education


  • Fred Korematsu was an American civil rights activist of Japanese descent who challenged the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
  • He was born in Oakland, California on January 30, 1919.
  • He worked as a welder before the war, and had a girlfriend of Italian American ancestry.
  • He refused to comply with the Executive Order 9066, which authorized the removal of persons of Japanese ancestry from designated areas.
  • He was arrested and convicted for violating the Exclusion Orders, and sent to a detention camp in Utah.

Korematsu v. United States

  • Korematsu appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court, with the help of the ACLU and other civil rights groups.
  • He argued that the internment violated his constitutional rights as a U.S. citizen.
  • The Supreme Court upheld his conviction in a 6-3 decision in 1944, ruling that the internment was a necessary military measure to protect national security.
  • The majority opinion stated that “all legal restrictions which curtail the civil rights of a single racial group are immediately suspect” but also that “pressing public necessity may sometimes justify the existence of such restrictions”.
  • The dissenting opinions criticized the majority for sanctioning a “legalization of racism” and a “clear violation of constitutional rights”.

Related: Holocaust Memorial Day in UK 2023

Aftermath and Legacy

  • Korematsu remained in the camp until the end of the war, and then moved to Detroit, Michigan with his family.
  • He changed his name and underwent plastic surgery to avoid discrimination and hatred.
  • He married and had two children, and later returned to California.
  • In 1983, his conviction was overturned by a federal court after new evidence emerged that showed that the government had withheld and falsified information about the alleged military threat posed by Japanese Americans.
  • The court found that the government had committed “a manifest injustice” and that Korematsu’s case was “a cautionary tale” for future generations.
  • Korematsu became a prominent figure in the redress movement, which sought reparations and recognition for the victims of the internment.
  • He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President William Clinton in 1998, the highest civilian honor in the U.S.
  • He also received numerous awards and honors from various states, organizations, and institutions for his courage and activism
  • He died in 2005 at the age of 86

Fred Korematsu Day

Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Liberties and Education

  • The Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Liberties and Education is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2009 by Korematsu’s daughter Karen Korematsu2
  • It is based in San Francisco, California, and operates under the auspices of the Asian Law Caucus3
  • Its mission is to advance racial equity, social justice, and human rights through education, advocacy, and activism
  • It provides educational materials, programs, and resources on Korematsu’s case and its implications for current and future generations
  • It also supports campaigns and initiatives that promote civil rights and civic engagement among diverse communities

Related: World Wetlands Day 2023

Korematsu Discovery Academy

  • The Korematsu Discovery Academy is a public elementary school located in East Oakland, California
  • It was named after Fred Korematsu in 2006, following a petition by students, teachers, and parents
  • It is one of the few schools in the U.S. that bears his name
  • It serves a predominantly low-income and minority student population, with a focus on academic excellence, social justice, and community involvement
  • It incorporates Korematsu’s values and principles into its curriculum and culture

From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII

  • From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII is an exhibit that showcases the diverse and complex experiences of Japanese Americans during World War II
  • It was created by the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, in partnership with the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Liberties and Education
  • It features artifacts, documents, photos, and oral histories from the museum’s collection and the institute’s archives
  • It covers topics such as the internment, the military service, the resistance, the aftermath, and the legacy of Japanese Americans in WWII
  • It aims to educate visitors about the history and impact of the internment and its lessons for today’s society


  • Fred Korematsu was a civil rights hero who stood up for his rights and challenged the injustice of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II
  • He faced discrimination, imprisonment, and ostracism for his actions, but he never gave up his fight for justice and equality
  • He inspired generations of activists and leaders who continue to advocate for civil liberties and human rights in the U.S. and around the world
  • He is honored and remembered through various commemorations, institutions, and initiatives that bear his name and carry on his legacy
  • He is a role model and a symbol of courage, dignity, and patriotism for all Americans
  • Fred Korematsu Day in California is a celebration of his life and legacy, as well as a reminder of the importance of defending our constitutional rights and freedoms.

Shoaib Ahmad

Hello, I'm Shoaib, a passionate blogger. With a strong command of written and spoken English, I bring your ideas to life through engaging and insightful blog posts.

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