Fred Korematsu Day in the United States Date in the current year: January 30, 2024

Fred Korematsu Day in the United States Fred Korematsu Day, also known as the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution, is celebrated on January 30, primarily in California. It is dedicated to a Japanese-American civil rights activist. It is the first day in the United States history named after an Asian American.

Fred Korematsu was born in California on January 30, 1919, to Japanese parents who immigrated to the United States in 1905. When Japanese Americans began to be removed from the West Coast to internment camps during the Second World War, Korematsu remained in California, claiming that Executive Order 9066 that legitimized the internment was unconstitutional. He went into hiding but was arrested and jailed.

Korematsu was tried and convicted in federal court for evading internment. On December 18, 1944, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Executive Order 9066 was constitutional, which meant that Japanese Americans could be legally sent to internment camps regardless of citizenship.

The decision in Korematsu v. United States was controversial. In 1983, Korematsu challenged it in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and the judge overturned his previous conviction for evading internment. In 2011 (six years after Korematsu’s death) the Department of Justice officially acknowledged that the Korematsu decision had been erroneous, although it has not been explicitly overturned.

Fred Korematsu Day was officially signed into law by the then-Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010. It has also been celebrated in Hawaii, Virginia, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Utah, and South Carolina.

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Korematsu Day in the United States, Korematsu v United States, holidays in the United States, observances in the United States