Japanese American Redress

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act, a historic piece of legislation that sought, for the first time, to provide a measure of justice to Japanese Americans forty-six years after their incarceration during World War II. The Japanese American Redress program that resulted proved to be a success story of the United States government - a program whose history is now captured in the film and material of this website. The Office of Redress Administration bore the seal and support of three different presidential administrations, and was run by a federal workforce that represented a diverse cross-section of the American people. Over its decade-long operation (1988-1998), the ORA reached over 82,000 people with a redress payment and official apology letter from the President of the United States.

This project aims to document the complex history of Japanese American Redress. In partnership with Emi Kuboyama from Stanford University, we began conducting oral history interviews with former ORA staff and Japanese American community leaders in 2017. Those interviews, listed below, are housed at the Densho Digital Repository. We then teamed up with filmmaker Jon Ayon to put those interviews into conversation with the experience of the Japanese American community in its forty-six year journey from internment to redress. The film below, Redress, provides the first in-depth look at the historic program as told by those who both administered and participated in it.

For more information, please visit the Redress Project website. The website not only features the film and more details about the project, but also contains educational material such as historical overviews of the long redress campaign and the ORA, as well a list of resources for further study and discussion.


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