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Preparation Quote of the Day

Norman Mineta

Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation

The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) had passed a resolution in 1978 saying, "We will undertake a legislative program to seek redress for the evacuation/internment of those of Japanese ancestry, and redress of $25,000 per person." Well, at that point, there was Senator (Daniel) Inouye, Senator (Spark) Matsunaga from Hawaii, Congressman Bob Matsui and I from California. So we had this one-sentence resolution from the national Japanese American Citizens League convention, wondering "What are we going to do with this now?" So as we kept meeting among ourselves, and with the JACL, Dan said, "Look, until we educate our colleagues about this, we are not going to get anywhere." Now, there was the Warren Commission that talked about the Kennedy assassination. There was the Commission on the Kent State slaughter. So what we should do is to have a commission, because those were bestsellers, they were on television. In this way we would be able to get to the depths of why the evacuation and internment occurred. So in 1978, we then established a legislation called the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, and that group, with Thurgood Marshall as one of the members, studied the whole issue, and by 1980, they issued a report saying that the evacuation was due to wartime hysteria, historical racial discrimination, and weak political leadership.
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