1976 February 19

President Ford Officially Rescinds Japanese-American Evacuation Order

 

In a largely symbolic act in the year of the Bicentennial of American Independence, President Gerald Ford on this day issued Proclamation 4417, officially rescinding President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, authorizing the evacuation of Japanese-Americans from the West Coast. President Ford rescinded Roosevelt’s order on the same day Roosevelt had acted, thirty-four years later. (See February 19, 1942.)

Although a  symbolic act, President Ford’s order was an important statement, nonetheless. The treatment of the Japanese-Americans in World War II is regarded by many as the greatest civil liberties tragedy in American history. Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act on August 10, 1988, apologizing to the Japanese Americans and providing reparations of $20,000 to each surviving victim.

President Ford: “We now know what we should have known then-not only was that evacuation wrong, but Japanese-Americans were and are loyal Americans. On the battlefield and at home, Japanese-Americans names like Hamada, Mitsumori, Marimoto, Noguchi, Yamasaki, Kido, Munemori and Miyamura — have been and continue to be written in our history for the sacrifices and the contributions they have made to the well-being and security of this, our common Nation.”

Read Ford’s full Proclamation 4417: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=787

Learn more: Peter Irons, Justice at War: The Story of the Japanese-American Internment Cases (1983)

And more: Greg Robinson, By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans (2001)

Read a first-hand account of the evacuation and internment: Jeanne Wakatsuki Huston and James D. Houston, Farewell to Manzanar (2002)

Watch an interview with Jeanne Wakatsuki Huston: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDDFw5TGkJo

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