Event Description: This talk analyzes the movement to obtain redress for the mass removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Multiple generations of Japanese Americans participated in three campaigns that culminated in the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 providing an official apology and individual payments of $20,000 to surviving former incarcerees. This movement reflected the impact of multiracial activism in the 1960s and 70s, pilgrimages to former camp sites, commemorations, and political campaigns to educate the public about the wartime injustice. It examines the role of Japanese American researchers, grassroots activists, and leaders in a class action lawsuit and legislative lobbying efforts. It also explores the legacy of this movement and the ways Japanese Americans continue to invoke the history of the mass incarceration to support other groups seeking redress.
Speaker Bio: Alice Yang is chair of the History Department at the University of California at Santa Cruz and co-directs the Center for the Study of Pacific War Memories. She is also the oral history co-director of the Okinawan Memories Initiative. Between 2010 and 2020, she served as provost of Stevenson College at UCSC. Her publications include Historical Memories of the Japanese American Internment and the Struggle for Redress, Major Problems in Asian American History (co-editor), and What Did the Internment of Japanese Americans Mean? (editor). She has served as a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American History and an advisory board member for the exhibit Then They Came for Me: Japanese American Incarceration during World War II and the Demise of Civil Liberties. Her research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Luce Foundation, and the California Civil Liberties Public Education Fund.