Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story

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Release date: Jun 7, 2000

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Movie Info

Born in Oakland, CA, in 1919, Fred Korematsu was the son of Japanese immigrants who, when the United States entered World War II in 1941, wanted to do his duty as an American and volunteer for the Army. Instead, Korematsu and the other Japanese-American residents of California were rounded up and placed in internment camps, as many inside the government believed that their loyalties would be with Japan rather than America and that they would attempt to sabotage the U.S. war effort. Outraged, Korematsu refused to go, and for a time became a fugitive from justice; he was eventually captured and put on trial. The American Civil Liberties Union sided with Korematsu after his arrest, believing the internment orders were a direct violation of the Constitution, and helped Korematsu take his case to the Supreme Court. In 1944, the Supreme Court found in favor of the U.S. government, but in 1981, Peter Irons, a law professor at the University of California in San Diego, began investigating Korematsu's case and discovered that government prosecutors suppressed evidence that would have cleared Korematsu and freed the other Japanese-Americans held by the government. Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Koramatsu Story is a documentary that examines his long, remarkable journey from being a convicted criminal in 1942 to receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998.

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