SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Californians are observing the first official statewide day set aside to honor Fred Korematsu, who fought the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans.

State lawmakers last year voted unanimously to designate Jan. 30 as Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.

The measure encourages Californians to recognize the importance of preserving civil liberties.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

Korematsu was arrested in Oakland in 1942 after refusing to enter an internment camp.

His case led the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether the internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans was legal. The high court ruled against him in 1944.

A San Francisco federal court judge formally vacated Korematsu’s conviction 40 years later. President Bill Clinton presented him with the Medal of Freedom in 1998. Korematsu died in 2005.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (2)
  1. Ria Tanz Kubota says:

    May he and other heroes of his ilk long be remembered.

    This is especially compelling in the face of anti-Arab and Muslim rhetoric these days.

    Same story, new cast of characters.

    Racism and discrimination harm us all.

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