“A Grave Injustice Was Done”: First Japanese-American Reparations Paid
The 1988 Civil Liberties Act, signed by President Ronald Reagan on August 10, 1988, provided for reparations of $20,000 to individual victims of the Japanese-American evacuation and internment during World War II. In a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on this day, Rev. Mamoru Eto of Los Angeles was the first victim to receive a payment.
The evacuation and internment of the Japanese-Americans during World War II, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized on February 19, 1942, is widely regarded as the greatest single civil liberties tragedy in American history. About 120,000 people, 90,000 of whom were American citizens, were forcibly removed from their homes and detained in Relocation Centers that were in practice concentration camps. In addition, the victims lost millions of dollars in personal property as a result of the evacuation.
Read: Peter Irons, Justice at War: The Story of the Japanese-American Internment Cases (1983)
Visit the Japanese American Memorial in Washington, DC: http://njamf.com/
View a documentary on the internment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mr97qyKA2s