Fred Korematsu Google doodle honors Japanese internment camp survivor & civil rights activist

fred-korematsus google doodle

Google is honoring Japanese internment camp survivor Fred Korematsu on what would have been the civil rights activist’s 98th birthday.

Born in Oakland, California, to immigrant parents, Korematsu went into hiding in 1942 to avoid being incarcerated after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order to incarcerate people of Japanese descent in US internment camps during World War II. Korematsu was found and arrested the same year — but, with the help of the ACLU, fought his conviction.

In the landmark Supreme Court case — Korematsu versus the United States — Korematsu’s conviction was upheld, and Korematsu was sent to a Topaz, Utah, internment camp from 1942 until the end of World War II in 1945.

From the Google Doodle blog:

It wasn’t until 1976 that President Gerald Ford formally ended Executive Order 9066 and apologized for the internment, stating, “We now know what we should have known then– not only was that evacuation wrong but Japanese-Americans were and are loyal Americans.”

Korematsu’s conviction was overturned in 1983, and in 1998, Korematsu was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Now, four states — California, Hawaii, Virginia and Florida — officially recognize January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day.

Designed by doodler Sophie Diao, the daughter of Asian immigrants herself, the doodle leads to a search for “Fred Korematsu” and features Korematsu with his Presidential Medal of Freedom. The doodle gives Google’s letters a patriotic treatment and includes an image of internment camp living quarters surrounded by cherry blossoms — a flower that has come to represent peace and friendship between the US and Japan.


Last week, Google shared a doodle celebrating the first female African-American aviator Bessie Coleman and paid tribute to Ed Roberts, the leader of the disability rights movement.

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