January 5, 2012

During World War II, Gordon Hirabayashi defied the curfew and removal orders being enforced against Japanese on the West Coast. He turned himself in to the FBI, was found guilty, and served time for violating the curfew order and failing to report for “evacuation.” In 1943 the Supreme Court upheld his convictions. In 1986, his case was reopened and his convictions surrounding the incarceration were vacated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing in part that, “racial bias was the cornerstone of the internment orders.” In this clip, Gordon describes how he felt upon receiving a letter from his mother who was in the Tule Lake incarceration camp. Gordon Hirabaysahi’s full interview is available in the Densho Digital Archive.

View the Archive Spotlight interview excerpt