justice at war: the story of the japanese internment camps

Setting

On 7 December 1941 Japanese fighter planes bombed the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt issued Executive Orders establishing military zones along the West Coast and the War Relocation Authority. General John Dewitt, Commander of the Western Defense ordered the evacuation and internment of over 110,000 Japanese-Americans in ten permanent camps. No Japanese-American was ever convicted of sabotage or espionage against the United States. Still, men, women and children were forced from their homes and kept in harsh conditions for the remainder of the war. Mitsuye Endo’s case against the government was the fourth such case to be brought before the Supreme Court, and the first to be decided in favor of the plaintiff.

What responsibility does the government have to citizens and non-citizens during times of war or national emergency?

What role does race play in the administration of justice?

Do constitutional powers of the executive branch supersede those of the judicial branch?

THEMES
  • Racism

  • Scapegoating

  • Fear of “the other”

  • Constitutional powers

  • Due process of law

  • Civil liberties

  • Reparations

historical connections
  • Immigration Act of 1924

  • Alien Land Bill

  • Japanese Internment Camps

  • Bombing of Pearl Harbor

  • World War II

  • Writ of Habeas Corpus

  • American Civil Liberties Union

  • Executive Orders 9066, 9102

Virtual Performance