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Indonesian Sailors Deportation Photograph Collection
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This collection contains nine photographs, one flyer, and one magazine related to the detetion of a group of Indonesian seamen in 1947. The images depict about 200-300 men at an immigration detetion center in downtown San Francisco, at the Southern Pacific depot in San Francisco, and on a ship called the "Marine Lync" in San Francisco Bay. The photographs in this collection have been digitized and are available online.
The Indonesian National Revolution against Dutch colonial rule began on August 17, 1945 when the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence was broadcast by radio throughout the country. In the following months, Indonesian seamen who were docked in US ports began leaving Dutch and English ships, which they asserted were carrying weapons that would be used against their countrymen. The striking seamen were supported by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and a variety of other civil rights and labor activists. When the shipping companies terminated the employment of the Indonesian seamen they were left without valid visas. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service detained these unemployed sailors and in June of 1946 the Justice Department began deportation proceedings against them. CIO Lawyers Harold Sawyer and Leo Gallagher argued that the Indonesian seamen were entitled to political asylum and filed a petition of habeas corpus to halt their deportation. As a result of this legal action the Indonesian seamen were removed from a ship waiting to return them to the Dutch East Indies (as Indonesia was called at the time), and put on a train to the Justice Department camp in Crystal City, Texas. A federal judge later ruled that the Indonesian seamen were prohibited by the alien exclusion act from remaining in the country. All of their subsequent appeals were denied and on January 13, 1947 roughly 300 Indonesian seamen were deported from the United States.
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All requests for permission to publish or quote from items in the collection must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
There are no access restrictions on this collection.