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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
El Cerrito in Contra Costa County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Forced Removal

 
 
Forced Removal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, February 29, 2020
1. Forced Removal Marker
Inscription.  The Japanese military's attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 formally brought America into World War II. Newspapers, politicians, and military officials invented or exaggerated the threat of disloyalty by Japanese Americans. Groups including the California Farm Bureau and Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce called for the expulsion of Japanese American farmers.

In February 1942, President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 authorized the military to forcibly remove more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast. More than 60 percent were U.S. citizens.

El Cerrito's Japanese American growers were cultivating flowers for Easter and Mother's Day. In April, the U.S. Government ordered them to report to a site in Berkeley for evacuation. They immediately had to find caretakers for their businesses and belongings or sell what they owned. They were allowed to bring only what they could carry. Ultimately only one fourth of all Japanese Americans were able to regain their agricultural property. Local growers were more fortunate.

Many Japanese Americans from the Bay Area were initially confined for a few months

Forced Removal Marker - wide view image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, February 29, 2020
2. Forced Removal Marker - wide view
The marker is one of five related markers located in front of the senior center.
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in the horse stalls at the Tanforan Racetrack. For some, the animal odors were almost unbearable.

Redress

In 1944, in Korematsu v. U.S., the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the forced removal of Japanese Americans. Three Justices dissented, finding the action a violation of Constitutional rights. But in the 1980s, researchers uncovered evidence that U.S. government officials had concealed and manipulated evidence before the U.S. Supreme Court, and had knowingly presented false information to justify mass removal of the Japanese American community.

In 1988, the U.S. government acknowledged that forced removal was not a military necessity, apologized, and agreed to reparations. The convictions of Fred Korematsu for defying the internment orders and Gordon Hirabayashi for violating a government curfew and for falling to register for internment during wartime were also overturned on grounds of official misconduct. However, the court rulings that supported the U.S. government's actions towards the Japanese American communities still stand as precedent.


 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Asian AmericansWar, World II. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1942.
 
Location. 37° 54.922′ N, 122° 18.665′ W. Marker is in El Cerrito, California, in Contra Costa County. Marker

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is on San Pablo Avenue south of Manila, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10860 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito CA 94530, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Community of Flower Growers (here, next to this marker); Blooming Business (a few steps from this marker); The Japanese in El Cerrito, a Timeline (a few steps from this marker); Contra Costa Florist (within shouting distance of this marker); City Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); Corridors of Change (within shouting distance of this marker); The Industrial Core (approx. ¼ mile away); Quarries (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in El Cerrito.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 23, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 14, 2020, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 39 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on October 14, 2020, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.   2. submitted on March 1, 2020, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 9, 2021