Fred Korematsu

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“Korematsu” redirects here. For the Supreme Court case, see Korematsu v. United States.

Fred Korematsu
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wearing the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998

Born January 30, 1919
Oakland, California, U.S.
Died March 30, 2005 (aged 86)
Marin County, California, U.S.
Cause of death Respiratory failure
Resting place Mountain View Cemetery
37°50′06″N 122°14′12″W
Monuments • Fred T. Korematsu Elementary School in Davis
• Fred T. Korematsu Campus of San Leandro High School
• Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy in Oakland
Residence Topaz War Relocation Center
Salt Lake City, Utah
Detroit, Michigan
Nationality American
Education High School
Alma mater Castlemont High School (Oakland, California)
Spouse(s) Kathryn Pearson Korematsu
Children Karen Korematsu and Ken Korematsu
Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom

Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu (是松 豊三郎 Korematsu Toyosaburō?, January 30, 1919 – March 30, 2005) was an American civil rights activist who objected to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Shortly after the Imperial Japanese Navy launched its attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized that all individuals of Japanese ancestry were to be removed from their homes and forced to live in internment camps, but Korematsu instead challenged the orders and became a fugitive.

The legality of the internment order was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States; this ruling has never been overturned.[1]Korematsu’s conviction for violating the executive orders was overturned decades later after the disclosure of new evidence challenging the necessity of the internment, evidence which had been withheld from the courts by the U.S. government during the war.

To commemorate his journey as a civil rights activist, the “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution” was observed for the first time on January 30, 2011, by the state of California, the first such commemoration for an Asian American in the United States. In 2015, Virginia passed legislation to make it the second state and first commonwealth to permanently recognize each January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day.[2][3][4]

The Fred T. Korematsu Institute was founded in 2009 to carry on Korematsu’s legacy as a civil rights advocate by educating and advocating for civil liberties for all communities.