Executive Order 9066: History and Legacy

This year, the NJCHS has aligned its educational mission with the Ninth Circuit’s Civics contest – “Not to be Forgotten: Legal Lessons of the Japanese Internment” on this, the 75th Anniversary of Executive Order 9066. With the assistance of resources shared by the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, the Densho Encyclopedia and Digital archives, primary source material, and with the essential input from subject matter experts, the NJCHS created an eight panel Exhibit which explores the antecedents to Executive Order 9066, its tremendous impact on the Japanese American Community, and its aftermath.

Executive Order 9066 is of special importance to the NJCHS as a historical society, since several seminal cases questioning the constitutionality of the Executive Order, including the legal actions brought by Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi, Minori Yasui, and Mitsue Endo, arose in the Ninth Circuit.

The Exhibit relies in part on affecting images taken by famous photographers Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams as they documented the process of the Japanese Americans being forced to leave their homes and belongings behind on two weeks’ notice, their transport to temporary “evacuation centers,” and their life in the ten desolate camps in which they were forced to spend several years during WWII. The Exhibit attempts to convey the sentiments of those who were directly affected through use of their own words.

The Exhibit will be traveling throughout the Circuit with stops at federal courthouses in Phoenix, Pasadena, Yosemite, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Fresno, Portland, Idaho, Hawaii, and at the Ninth Circuit Conference in San Francisco. More photos of the Exhibit are available on the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society’s Facebook page.

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