Civil Rights Legend Fred Korematsu Passes Away
March 31, Washington, DC- The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is saddened by the passing of Fred Korematsu. Korematsu, 86, passed away on March 30, due to respiratory failure.
Korematsu, a native-born US citizen of Japanese descent, was one of over 120,000 Japanese Americans interned in military camps during World War II. These camps were generally located in remote areas of the US, surrounded by barbed wire. This remains one of the darkest periods in US history.
Korematsu’s name first appeared on the national and international scene after he defied military orders and escaped his internment, only to be arrested and jailed in 1942. He appealed his case all the way to the US Supreme Court. In 1944, the Supreme Court ruled that the internment was a “military necessity” and maintained his criminal conviction. It should be noted that the Korematsu case remains law until today.
Korematsu’s own case was later partially rectified by the erasure of his criminal conviction, due to governmental misconduct resulting from the disclosure of secret documents. His legacy will continue to guide us toward equality, justice, and equal protection under the law.
ADC extends its deepest sympathies to the Korematsu family, the Japanese American community, the Asian American community, and to Americans everywhere on the passing of Fred Korematsu.