Mon, February 03, 2014

Civil Disobedience! The Life and Legacy of Gordon K. Hirabayashi

Editor’s note: Although this event is neither in nor directly related to Alaska, we’re posting the announcement because many Alaskans have a strong interest in the WWII internment camps in which so many Aleuts and Japanese-Americans suffered.

The Allen Library at the University of Washington in Seattle announces “Civil Disobedience! The Life and Legacy of Gordon K. Hirabayashi,” an exhibit that will be open the entire month of February in the library’s main floor.
“During World War II, 24-year-old University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi defied the United States order for Americans of Japanese ancestry  to leave the West Coast for concentration camps. He turned himself in to the FBI and was tried and convicted in the Federal District Court of Seattle. The case ultimately went to the Supreme Court where it was upheld. After the war, Hirabayashi complete a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Sociology at the UW, and went on to teach at American University in Beirut, American University in Cairo, and at the University of Alberta.

“It was 40 years later that Hirabayashi’s wartime conviction was overturned in an extraordinary case that exposed the suppression of evidence by the government. Gordon Hirabayashi’s principled stand to uphold the Constitution for all Americans is a legacy to be preserved. The story has been documented in dozens of academic publications, documentaries and theatre productions. Gordon dedicated his life to keeping the story of the injustice of Japanese American incarceration alive.

“In 2013 the personal papers of Gordon K. Hirabayashi were donated to the Pacific Northwest Collection in Libraries Special Collections. They join a growing collection of papers, oral histories and photographs that help document the Japanese American experience in the Pacific Northwest. This exhibit features items from his papers.”