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Boston University School of Law




One afternoon in the spring of 1942, Fred Korematsu was arrested for doing what would have been perfectly innocent and natural for millions of other American citizens, but was for him a criminal offense. He went for a stroll with his fianc6e along a public street in San Leandro, California.' By order of General John L. DeWitt, Americans of Japanese ancestry had been directed to remain in their homes during daylight hours and to ready themselves for transport to "assembly centers," where they would wait out the war.' Korematsu's family had already reported to such a center near San Francisco, but he had stayed behind hoping he might still marry his Italian American girl friend and move to the Midwest where they could "live as normal people." 3 That naive plan was smashed by the national government's shameful policies toward hundreds of thousands of its loyal citzens. Innocent men, women, and children were herded together in camps and held against their will on the baseless premise that they somehow threatened the nation's security.



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