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Minerich (Paul T.) Papers
2003.229.1  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Project Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Paul T. Minerich papers
    Dates: 1944-1998
    Languages: English
    Collection number: 2003.229.1
    Creator: Minerich, Paul T.
    Collection Size: 1.5 linear feet
    Repository: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Los Angeles, California 90012
    Abstract: The Paul T. Minerich Papers document the court cases of draft resisters who were court-martialed in 1944 in Ft. McClellan, Alabama. The resisters, also known as DB Boys (Detention Barracks Boys), were court-martialed and sentenced to a dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of pay. In 1981 their sentences were overturned. The papers comprise of court-martial documents, correspondences, and notes that were collected by their lawyers, Charles Edmund Zane and Paul T. Minerich.
    Physical location: Japanese American National Museum 100 North Central Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90012

    Access

    Collection is open for research by appointment only. Please contact the Japanese American National Museum Collections Management and Access Unit by email (collections@janm.org) or telephone (213-830-5615).

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Collections Management and Access Unit at the Japanese American National Museum (collections@janm.org).

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Paul T. Minerich papers. 2003.229.1, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.

    Project Information

    This finding aid was created as part of a project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project started in 2007. Project Director was Cris Paschild. Project Archivists were Yoko Shimojo and Marlon Romero.

    Biography / Administrative History

    The Paul T. Minerich papers document the court cases of draft resisters who were court-martialed in 1944 in Ft. McClellan, Alabama. The resisters were court-martialed for refusing to be trained for combat while their families were incarcerated in concentration camps. On March 20, 1944, forty-three infantry trainees were ordered to march to a field house to hear an orientation by their training commander. The group began to march, but soon stopped and refused to continue. A soldier was ordered to take the names of those who had disobeyed orders, but they refused to identify themselves and were placed under arrest. Twenty-one of these men were eventually convicted and tried for violating the 64th Article of War (willfully disobeying a direct order by a superior commissioned officer). The resisters, also known as the DB Boys (Detention Barrack Boys), were sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, a forfeiture of pay, and confinement to hard labor for 5 to 30 years. In November 1945, their sentences were reduced by a special clemency action and in 1946 they were put on parole and released.
    Immediately after their release Charles Edmund Zane (a lawyer and high school friend to resister Masao Kataoka) began to write briefs in defense of the injustice done to the DB boys. As early as 1946, Zane submitted applications to the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records for a hearing to convince the board that the verdicts of the court martial be reversed. In May 1949, the men were informed that the hearing would not be granted. Despite the dismissal of the court, Zane continued his legal research by writing to different government agencies and requesting court records in hopes of an eventual court hearing.
    In the 1980s, over thirty years after the DB Boys trial, Paul T. Minerich (an attorney and son-in-law of resister, Tim Nomiyama) continued the DB Boys case. In January 1981, the Army changed the sentences for 11 of the 21 resisters dishonorable discharge to honorable discharge. The remaining ten did not wish to change their status. The eleven men then testified before the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records and, in February 1982, the board ordered that they receive credit toward active service for the years that they were confined after their court martial. The Board also changed the record to show that they had been honorably discharged due to expiration of their enlistment rather than release from their confinement. What Zane started in the 1940s, Minerich resumed and finished in the 1980s during an era of Japanese American redress and reparations.
    Resisters (DB Boys):
    Hamai, Shigeo

    Hayakawa, Kenjiro

    Hirouchi, Frank F.

    Ishiyama, Yoshikuzu

    Itano, Henry

    Kataoka, Masao

    Mitsuhiro, Mitsuru

    Morinaka, Henry

    Morita, Masuo

    Murata, Harold

    Nakamura, Richard Tatsuo

    Nomiyama, Tim T.

    Nozawa, Hakubun (Hugh)

    Ogawa, Ben B.

    Okamoto, Masami J.

    Oyama, Masao

    Sakuma, Sasayuki

    Sumida, Masao

    Sumoge, Fred Fumio

    Taniguchi, Katsumi

    Tsunehara, Harold T.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Paul T. Minerich papers follow the journey to reverse the court martial verdicts against the Detention Barracks Boys started by Charles Zane in 1945 and continued by Minerich. The collection is mostly comprised of 11 copies (one copy for each resister represented by Minerich) of various legal documents. Documents include certificates of honorable discharge, notices of honorable discharge, congratulatory letters from Minerich, petitions for a new trial under Article of War 53, copies of the Application for Correction of Military Records, notices of case hearings, transcripts of the hearing in front of the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records on December 1982, as well as signed affidavits. The collection also has correspondence between Minerich and Aiko Herzig, John Tateishi, Cedrick Shimo, Senator Daniel Inouye, Senator Spark Matsunaga, author Frank Chuman, and producer Loni Ding in an attempt to spread the word about the DB Boys’ case. Minerich even wrote to the National Museum of American History’s Director of Exhibitions in hopes that the men’s story be told. The collection tells an important story of resistance in the ranks of the military and also deals specifically with Kibei-Nisei, a group on whom literature is relatively scarce.
    Series 1 is court martial documents, correspondence, and notes compiled by Charles Zane between 1944 and 1954. These Zane papers look much like the collections of Reverend Herbert Johnson, Clara Breed, and Afton Nance: informal letters, rough drafts, type-written documents, which were all one man's grassroots effort to call attention to World War II's contradictions and injustices. Part of Zane's collection are the original 1944 court martials as well as the 1944 guilty sentences, and numerous letters Zane wrote to Congressmen in hopes of finding support for his cause in the late 1940s.
    Series 2 is comprised of court martial documents, correspondence, and audiovisual materials create by Minerich as he continued the case in the 1980s. In addition to the legal documents described above, the series includes video interviews of the DB Boys and their wives that share their experiences before, during, and after the war.

    Arrangement

    The Zane series is comprised of three subseries: court martial documents, correspondence, and notes. Court martial documents are arranged chronologically with the bulk of the documents being trial records for ten of the resisters. The trial records are arranged alphabetically by the resisters’ last names. Correspondence has been separated by type of letter: letters sent from Zane to the DB Boys, letters sent from Zane to the government and various institutions, letters sent from the government to the DB Boys. Letters are arranged chronologically with undated letters at the end of each folder.
    The Minerich series also contains three subseries: court martial documents, correspondence, and audiovisual materials. Again, court martial documents are arranged chronologically. Correspondence has been separated by type of letter: letters sent from Minerich to the DB Boys, letters sent from Minerich to the government and various institutions, letters from the government to the DB Boys, and letters from the DB boys to Minrich. These letters are arranged chronologically with undated materials at the end of each folder. Letters from the DB Boys to Minerich contain personal statements and are not dated.
    Series 1: Charles E. Zane, 1944-1954
    Subseries 1: Court Martial Documents
    Subseries 2: Correspondence
    Subseries 3: Notes
    Series 2: Paul T. Minerich, 1980-1998
    Subseries 1: Court Martial Documents
    Subseries 2: Correspondence
    Subseries 3: Audiovisual Materials

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Hamai, Shigeo
    Hayakawa, Kenjiro
    Hirouchi, Frank F.
    Ishiyama, Yoshikuzu
    Itano, Henry
    Kataoka, Masao
    Mitsuhiro, Mitsuru
    Morinaka, Henry
    Morita, Masuo
    Murata, Harold
    Nakamura, Richard Tatsuo
    Nomiyama, Tim T.
    Nozawa, Hakubun
    Ogawa, Ben B.
    Okamoto, Masami J.
    Oyama, Masao
    Sakuma, Sasayuki
    Sumida, Masao
    Sumoge, Fred Fumio
    Taniguchi, Katsumi
    Tsunehara, Harold T.
    Minerich, Paul T.
    Zane, Charles E.
    United States. Army
    DB Boys (Group)
    Japanese Americans
    World War, 1939-1945
    Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation. 1942-1945.
    Japanese American soldiers