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Finding Aid for the Fred T. Korematsu v. United States Coram Nobis Litigation collection, 1942-1988
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The Korematsu litigation documents are the record of the Korematsu team's litigation work. Not only were they actively engaged in litigation and court affairs on behalf of Mr. Korematsu, but they also saw themselves equally engaged in community outreach, educational efforts, and the redress movement as a whole. Their legal and non-legal research and their involvement in related coram nobis cases, legislative initiatives, media projects testify to the breadth and depth of activities they viewed integral and essential to litigating this case. The 49 document cases of documents are a distillation of the personal attorneys' files of Dale Minami, Lorraine Bannai, Dennis Hayashi, Don Tamaki, the Asian Law Caucus, Robert Rusky, Karen Kai, and Ed Chen. Files were not received from Leigh-Ann Miyasato, Peter Irons, Eric Yamamoto, Akira Togasaki, or other individuals or organizations involved in the case.
Fred Korematsu was born in 1919, in Oakland, Calif., and lived there with his Issei (first generation) parents, who operated a nursery. He and his three brothers lived in Oakland until the spring of 1942, when he and approximately 110,000 other American citizens and resident aliens of Japanese ancestry were ordered to leave their West Coast homes and report for internment. Mr. Korematsu refused to leave the community in which he grew up and was arrested on May 30, 1942. He was tried and convicted in Federal Court. In a landmark case, the United States Supreme Court upheld his conviction and held that the military orders removing Japanese Americans from the West Coast were lawful under the United States Constitution. Mr. Korematsu's case stood for over forty years as constitutional validation of one of the most egregious deprivations of civil rights in modern United States history. In 1981, a number of documents were found which proved that the United States government suppressed, altered, and destroyed material evidence during its prosecution of Mr. Korematsu's case. Based on these documents, Mr. Korematsu, represented by a team of young lawyers, filed a petition for writ of error coram nobis, an obscure legal proceeding which allows a criminal defendant to challenge his conviction based on manifest injustice. Mr. Korematsu's petition was granted, and his conviction was vacated in a decision that helped remove the scar on the Constitution caused by the original Supreme Court case and helped heal the wounds inflicted on an entire community of people. Mr. Korematsu lived in Northern California until his passing on March 30, 2005. He is survived by his wife, Kathryn, and his two children, Karen and Ken Korematsu.
49 pamphlet boxes (24.5 linear ft.)
Copyright of portions of this collection has been assigned to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. The library can grant permission to publish for materials to which it holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish or quote must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian, Department of Special Collections. Credit shall be given as follows: The Regents of the University of California on behalf of the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center.
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Collection is open for research, with the exception of Box 49, which is restricted for access until a duplicate transfer of public-use audio copy of program on micro-cassette is completed. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.