WWII Incarceration

World War II Incarceration: May 1942

Fred Korematsu (foreground)Fred Korematsu (foreground)Twenty-three year old Fred Korematsu is arrested on a San Leandro street for not complying with the military’s incarceration orders. Korematsu and his Italian American fiancée intended to leave California to marry. The ACLU of Northern California takes on Korematsu’s legal challenge.

World War II Incarceration: 1942

Gordon Hirabayashi, a Quaker student at University of Washington, refuses to report to an “assembly center” and is arrested. He files a lawsuit.

World War II Incarceration: July 1942

WakayamaWakayamaThe ACLU of Southern California represents former Terminal Island residents Ernest and Toki Wakayama who challenge the constitutionality of the forced removal of Japanese Americans.

EndoEndoOn behalf of Mitsuye Endo, attorney James Purcell files a writ of habeas corpus for the government to show cause why Endo should not be released from detention.

World War II Incarceration: Oct. 1942

Government lifts all restrictive orders against Italian “enemy aliens.”

World War II Incarceration: Dec. 1942

Military police open fire at Manzanar during a mass demonstration to protest the arrest and imprisonment of a camp union leader accused of assaulting a man suspected of informing on camp dissidents. Two people die and many are injured.

World War II Incarceration: Jan. 1943

At the encouragement of the Japanese American Citizens League the War Department forms an all Japanese American combat team composed of second-generation (Nisei) men. 

World War II Incarceration: March 1943

Wakayamas dismiss their habeas corpus petition.

World War II Incarceration: June 1943

The War Relocation Authority (WRA) designates Tule Lake as the camp for all people who answered “No” to the controversial WRA questions and those considered “troublemakers” from all the other camps. They begin arriving at Tule Lake in September and October 1943.

In Hirabayashi v. U.S. and Yasui v. U.S., the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the curfew against Japanese Americans.

World War II Incarceration: Nov. 1943

More than 5,000 incarcerees protest when War Relocation Authority director Dillon Meyer visits Tule Lake. Demonstrators form a human barricade around the administration building for over 3 hours while Meyer meets with community leaders.

Farm Workers at Tule LakeFarm Workers at Tule LakeTule Lake camp director Raymond Best calls in the army to quell a protest by striking farm workers. The army uses tear gas to disperse the crowd and imposes a 7pm to 6am curfew.

Tule Lake commandant orders all incarcerees to report to a camp-wide meeting. Not a single person attends. Army declares martial law and conducts warrantless searches to locate insurgent leaders.

World War II Incarceration: July 1944

Ernest Besig, executive director of the ACLU of Northern California visits Tule Lake and learns that 18 citizens (out of an initial group of over 100 men) had been held without charges in the Tule Lake stockade for the previous eight months. Besig enlists Wayne Collins to secure the prisoners’ release.  Collins tells the WRA that he intends to bring habeas corpus proceedings on behalf of the prisoners, and the WRA quietly releases them from the stockade.

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