Perspectives on Japanese American Incarceration

Thursday Jun 29 2017   6:00 PM
California Historical Society  678 Mission St, San Francisco, CA  map

Fred Korematsu was a 23-year-old welder living in Oakland when the U.S. government forced Japanese Americans from their homes into desolate camps. Korematsu defied the order, and his legal challenge resulted in an infamous Supreme Court decision. Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi, coauthors of Fred Korematsu Speaks Up, a new biography for young readers, will discuss the civil rights hero’s life, its relevance today, and their work to share his story with students. They will be joined by Freda Lin, Education Program Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, who will explain the Institute’s efforts to connect Korematsu’s story with current discrimination against Muslims.

San Francisco native George Omi was 11 years old when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. In his award-winning memoir “American Yellow,” he recounts how his immigrant parents built a successful dry-cleaning business, only to lose it when they are ordered to leave San Francisco and eventually imprisoned in Rohwer, Arkansas. Omi will read from his book and provide a first-hand account of the dark days after Pearl Harbor.

$5 general admission; free for students and CHS members. To reserve your space, visit CHS’s website.

Laura Atkins

Laura Atkins is an author, teacher, and independent children’s book editor with over twenty years of editorial experience. She worked at Children’s Book Press, Orchard Books, and Lee and Low Books, helping to produce winners of the Coretta Scott King Award and American Library Association Notable Book selections, among others. She taught creative writing at the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature (NCRCL) in London, where she also received her M.A. in children’s literature, and she completed her M.F.A. in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2016. In addition to cowriting Fred Korematsu Speaks UpLaura is the author of the lighthearted picture book Sled Dog Dachshund (Minted Prose Press). Passionate about diversity and equity in children’s books, Laura is based in Berkeley, California, where she lives with her daughter. Find out more at

Stan Yogi

Stan Yogi is the coauthor, with Elaine Elinson, of Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California, and, with Laura Atkins, of the children's book Fred Korematsu Speaks Up. He managed development programs for the ACLU of Northern California for fourteen years and is the coeditor of two books, Highway 99: A Literary Journey through California's Great Central Valley and Asian American Literature: An Annotated Bibliography. His work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, MELUS, Los Angeles Daily Journal, and several anthologies. He is married to nonprofit administrator David Carroll and lives in Los Angeles.

Photo by Michael Woolsey