(PORTFOLIO EXAMPLE) – The Incarceration of Civil Liberties Denied

Civil Liberties Denied – The Incarceration of
Japanese Americans in World War II
Connie McDowell
SSC101 Winter 2005
March 8, 2005
SSC101 Final Portfolio Project – Example
In 1942 approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their
homes and sent to internment camps, where many remained for up to three years.
About two-thirds of those incarcerated were United States citizens, the American-born
children of first-generation Japanese immigrants, or Issei. The United States
government sought to justify the internment of Japanese Americans on the grounds that
they posed a risk to national security and might engage in acts of espionage or
sabotage. However this was never proven to be true. Legal challenges to internment
were brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the government.
More than twenty years later, the government admitted that internment had been a
violation of the civil rights of Japanese Americans. In 1988 Congress passed legislation
authorizing redress payments of $20,000 each to the approximately 60,000 survivors of
internment, along with a letter of apology.
My research project examines the causes of the internment of Japanese Americans.
What evidence, if any, did the government use to justify this violation of constitution
rights? Why was the majority of the population of the United States willing to go along
with this action? My research will analyze the factors that enabled internment to occur,
such as racism, war hysteria, politics, and economics. My analysis will be based on the
examination of primary and secondary source evidence. I am interested in this topic
because of parallels to our current situation, where reactions to the September 11
attacks have resulted in a willingness on the part of the government and many citizens to
accept a diminishment in civil liberties in exchange for a sense of increased security.
Topic Analysis
Library of Congress Classifications
D731-838 World War II (1939-1945)
E184-185.98 Elements in the population
Japanese American(s)
Executive Order 9066
Civil liberties
Concentration camps
World War II
No-No boys
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Concentration camps--United States
Japanese Americans--Civil rights
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
United States--History--1933-1945
World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps--United States
World War, 1939-1945--Draft resisters--United States
World War, 1939-1945--Japanese Americans
World War, 1939-1945—Reparations
Periodical or Reference Databases
ProQuest Direct
Expanded Academic Index ASAP
Ethnic NewsWatch
History Resource Center: U.S.
Reference Sources
Daniels, Roger. “Japanese American Incarceration.” Dictionary of American
History, ed. Stanley I. Kutler. New York : Thomson Learning, 2003.
This article presents a balanced overview of the incarceration of Japanese Americans,
from Executive Order 9066 through internment and eventually the movement for
redress. Daniels discusses how events and anti-Japanese sentiment prior to Executive
Order 9066 made such a violation of civil liberties possible. The article also talks about
those who resisted incarceration. Several court cases challenging internment are
discussed. In addition to the article, there are photographs and a bibliography for further
reading. This is a useful resource, because it provides a concise overview and lists
pertinent events, people, court cases, and laws.
Kitayama, Glen. “Japanese American Internment.” Asian American Encyclopedia,
ed. Franklin Ng. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1995.
The Asian American Encyclopedia is a six-volume reference work focusing on the Asian
immigrant experience in the United States. It provides information on the history and
culture of Asian immigrant groups, including Japanese Americans. This article provided
a thorough overview of the internment, including charts, photographs and a list of further
readings. Glen Kitayama, the author of the article, is a teacher and historian, who has
been active in the redress and reparations movement for survivors of the internment.
Sadamu, Robert. Born in Seattle: The Campaign for Japanese American Redress.
Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001.
Born in Seattle tells the story of a group of Japanese American activists who initiated the
national movement for redress for survivors of the internment. Through interviews,
Sadamu chronicles the experience of the survivors and their desire for justice. The
Seattle activists were the first group to petition the federal government for an apology
and monetary compensation. Through the efforts of the Seattle group, legislation was
finally passed in 1988 awarding monetary compensation to survivors. Robert Sadamu
Shimabukuro is a writer living in Seattle, Washington.
Robinson, Greg. By Order of the President : FDR and the Internment of Japanese
Americans. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001.
By Order of the President sheds light on the role of President Franklin Roosevelt in the
decision to issue Executive Order 9066, resulting in the removal of Japanese aliens and
American citizens of Japanese descent from their homes, and their detention throughout
war years. Through analyzing presidential papers, letters and government documents,
Robinson reveals how Roosevelt and his advisors arrived at their decision. Robinson is
a professor of history at the University of Quebec.
Muller, Eric L. Free to Die for their Country: The Story of the Japanese American
Draft Resisters in World War II. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.
In 1943, the federal government reinstated the draft for Americans of Japanese descent,
who were incarcerated in internment camps during World War II. Although some
detainees decided to serve in the armed forces, many chose not to. Free to Die for
Their Country, Muller recounts the stories of the men who resisted the draft, many of
whom were tried and convicted for their resistance. In writing this account, Muller
interviewed surviving resisters and examined government records, court cases and
news accounts. The book won at least one award, as one of the Washington Post’s Top
Nonfiction Titles of 2001. This books provides a in-depth account of one of the more
controversial, but less well known, aspects of the internment experience. Eric Muller is a
professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law.
Best Primary Source
Egami, Hatsuye. The Evacuation Diary of Hatsuye Egami. Pasadena: Intentional
Productions, 1995.
The Evacuation Diary of Hatsuye Egami is a the account of an Issei (first-generation
Japanese immigrant) woman and mother, who was interned with her family at the Tulare
Assembly Center for three months during World War II. Egami’s diary recounts daily life
at Tulare, but also her inner thoughts and her attempts to find beauty and hope in the
face of repression and deprivation. The diary was published almost fifty years after it
was written, when it came into the possession of Claire Gorfinkel, the editor. This diary
provides valuable insight into the first-hand experiences of an Issei woman during the
internment years.
Tateishi, John. And justice for All : An Oral History of the Japanese American
Detention Camps. Seattle : University of Washington Press, 1999.
In this book John Tateishi records the oral histories of thirty Japanese Americans, who
were interned during World War II. Originally published in 1984, this edition sheds light
on the human experience and personal feelings of the internees. Included in the book is
an afterword, that brings the lives of the interviewees up to date. Tateishi was a leader in
the national campaign for redress, which resulted in an official apology from the
President and Congress in 1988 and monetary compensation for the victims. This
collection was a valuable resource in understanding the first-hand experiences of
Best Periodical Articles
Luther, Catherine A. “Reflections of Cultural Identities in Conflict: Japanese
American Internment Camp Newspapers During World War II.” Journalism
History 29, no. 2 (2003): 69-81. ProQuest.
During the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, several newspapers
were published within the camps, by the internees. These newspapers provide a
valuable insight into the communities within the camps and how these communities
evolved over time. In this article, Catherine Luther examines ten of the camp
newspapers: Denson Communique, Gila News Courier, Granada Pioneer, Heart
Mountain Sentinel, Manzanar Free Press, Minidoka Irrigator, Poston Chronicle, Rohwer
Outpost, Topaz Times, Tulean Dispatch. Her analysis focuses on the cultural identity
struggle of the internees during their detention. According to Luther, initially the
internees tried to suppress their Japanese identity in favor of American, but eventually
evolved to affirm both cultures. The article was carefully researched, with footnotes to
original sources. Luther is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and
Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee.
Best Internet Sources
Abe, Frank and ITVS. “Conscience and the Constitution.” Public Broadcasting
Service. http://www.pbs.org/itvs/conscience/index.html (accessed Mar. 7,
This web site is a companion to the video of the same name. The web site tells the story
of a group of internees who refused to be drafted to fight in World War II, on the grounds
that their civil liberties had been violated by internment. The men were eventually tried
and several were convicted and served prison terms. The issue of resistance to the
draft split the Japanese American community both inside and outside of the camps, a rift
that was to endure till the present day. The web site provides a wealth of information on
this little-known aspect of the internment experience, including photographs, articles,
interviews and original source materials. Abe is a third-generation Japanese American,
whose father had been interned at Heart Mountain. He has worked as a journalist and
Non-print or Alternative Source
Rabbit in the Moon. Produced, directed and written by Emiko Omori. 85 mins.
Wabi-Sabi Productions, 1999. Videocassette
This documentary examines the aftermath of the internment experience among
survivors. It focuses on the rift caused by the loyalty questionnaire and the divisions
among those who signed it and those who refused to. The film combines interviews by
survivors of the internment with commentary by the director.
Self Evaluation
[On a separate page, write a description (250 words minimum) of your learning during
the research process. I am not looking for a course evaluation or for a detailed
description of your research topic; rather, I am looking for an evaluation of your own
process of finding information and what you have learned from this class. Include, but do
not limit your responses to the following:
Describe the kind of resources that seemed to be better than others for this topic. How is
the Internet suited/not suited to your topic? Books? Periodicals?
Discuss new learnings about the nature of this topic and the information that was
Discuss what you have learned about the research process and what you have learned
from this class.
Comment on how you will apply what was learned to current and future classes and in
personal or professional life.]