SAN LEANDRO (KCBS) — A civil rights icon from the East Bay who fought against Japanese internment during World War II will receive a rare honor this Sunday in Berkeley.

During the war, thousands of Japanese-Americans were sent to internment camps as part of an executive order. Fred Korematsu, a U.S. citizen, refused to go and was arrested in downtown San Leandro for violating the order. His daughter, Karen Korematsu said her father was sent to camp anyway in Utah where he was shunned by other Japanese-Americans.

“He experienced that really throughout his life until his case was re-opened in ’83,” she said.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

The courts overturned his conviction decades after the end of the war, and Korematsu was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998. Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger designated January 30th as Fred Korematsu Day.

“My father is the first Asian-American to be recognized and honored at a state level,” Korematsu said.

A special celebration will be held Sunday at the UC Berkeley campus. Korematsu died in 2005, but his daughter says her father would have been very humbled by the recognition.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (2)