Thursday, February 5

'Why I Resist

I'm going to get this book son. Fascinating. Not the finest hour for the USA. And as I keep in saying, we don't learn. We have Islamist terrorism and every Muslim is under suspicion with civil liberties under threat. 



'Why I Resist' - PageView - The Chronicle of Higher Education

In May 1942, in the wake of a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Gordon K. Hirabayashi had no doubt that the United States government was acting unconstitutionally in imposing curfews, loyalty oaths, and mass removal and internment on Japanese-Americans living along the West Coast.

So Hirabayashi, then a University of Washington student, defied two orders—one imposing curfews, another requiring anyone officials deemed a possible enemy to fill out a “loyalty questionnaire.” For that he was arrested, tried, convicted, and imprisoned.

He appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1943, it ruled against him. In 1987, via a rarely used legal doctrine, the high court overturned his conviction.

Hirabayashi’s stance made him a household name in Japanese-American circles, and among civil-rights advocates, more generally. As a result, his struggle and case have been analyzed every which way—but one.

It has not been, until A Principled Stand: The Story of Hirabayashi v. United States, that readers have had access to Hirabayashi’s reflections at the time of his resistance.

The novelty of the book, says one of its compilers, Hirabayashi’s nephew, Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, is that it reveals what was going through the mind of an exceptionally principled university student subjected to enormous pressure to toe a line. It is composed of Hirabayashi’s youthful writings in letters and a large trove of notebooks. Those came to light when the project first began, fully 20 years ago. Now, the book, just out from the University of Washington Press, may be the last piece of an infamous passage in American civic and legal history.

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