African American Movement’s impact on the Japanese Redress Movement in the 1970s and 1980s (by Anjali Mamidwar)


11.10 Students analyze the development of federal civil rights and voting rights.

Discuss the diffusion of the civil rights movements of African Americans form the churches of the rural South and the urban North, including the resistance to racial desegregation in Little Rock and Birmingham and how the advances influenced the agendas, strategies and effectiveness of the quests of American Indians, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans for civil rights and equal opportunities.

Key Ideas and Details

  • Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  • Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the ket details and ideas.
  • Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain

Craft and Structure

  • Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text
  • Analyze in detail how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole
  • Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning and evidence

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

  • Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media in order to address a question or solve a problem
  • Evaluate an authors’ premises, claims and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information
  • Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.


During World War II, between 110,000 to 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced into internment camps for four years. This impacted the social and economical life for the Japanese Americans. Many of the older survivors had post traumatic stress disorder, and many other health complications. [1] In the 1950s, African Americans started to protest for their rights, and organized a bus boycott in Montgomery, built organizations to help their own community, and fight for racial equality. This movement influenced the Asian Americans to fight for their own rights, and for equality, which then lead to the Redress movement. The Japanese Americans started to protest for an apology and a reaparation from the US Government.

This project serves to teach students the support of different minority groups to help one minority group. In this project the students will be examining how African American actions influenced the Japanese Americans to fight for their reparations, and how they gained their reparations. Students will be analyzing primary and secondary documents to understand the movement, and to see the influences each factor had in the movements.


Students will use letters, documents and photographs to analyze the Japanese American redress movement of the 1970s and the factors leading to the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which was signed by President Reagan to grant reparations to the survivors of the internment camps


  • How had the Asian Americans gained the civil liberties act, and to what extent did African American movement have an impact on the redress movement?
  • To what was the death of Malcom X factor in the redress movement?
  • What impact did CORE have on the Japanese Americans?
  • What was Yuri Kochiyama’s role in the movement?
  • What effect did media have on helping Japanese Americans to gain reparations from the government?


  • African American movement: A civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s to desegregate public places, and to enforce constitutional and legal rights for African Americans
  • Civil Rights Movement: A struggle in the minority groups with a goal to gain legal rights and to enforce constitutional rights, which started in the 1950s
  • CORE: Congress of Racial Equality- a civil rights organization with a goal to bring equality to all people regardless of sex, race, religion or ethnic background
  • Internment camps: Concentration Camps where hundreds of thousands Japanese Americans had to relocate to from 1942 to 1946
  • Nisei: Second-generation Japanese Immigrant
  • Redress Movement: refers to efforts to obtain the reinstitution of rights, an apology or monetary compensation from the US government


During World War II, hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans, most from the west coast, were forced into internments camps. After World War II, many Japanese Americans lost their homes, jobs, and family members. This also caused many survivors to have PTSD, and other health problems.[1] After this, many Japanese Americans fought for reparations from the government in the 1970s. The Japanese Americans had support from the African Americans and had been influenced by their reparation movements. One prominent figure is Yuri Kochiyama. She worked with CORE to fight for racial equality, and was heavily influenced by Malcolm X.[2] After Malcolm X’s death, she worked with other Japanese Americans to fight for legal reparations and an apology from the US Government. Many Japanese Americans went to the courts to fight for the redress bill. In 1979, the National Council for Japanese American Redress broke off from the Japanese Americans Citizens League with a goal to obtain redress. INCJAR fought in the courts mainly because they would not need a huge constituency support to win a court case, and that the judicial route would be the best way for expressing the grievances of the victims. While this court case did not succeed in its goal, it contributed to the overall redress effort. The research for this case helped educate the society and officials that the violation of the constitutional rights was the main issue for the incarceration of the Japanese Americans. [3]

These court cases, even though not as successful in obtaining a redress bill, did give a new point on the legislative process. The success of the campaigns was the result of legislation and strong community support. The increase in media coverage on the issues, lobbying efforts, and the support from different minority groups lead to the apology from the Reagan Administration, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, and the grant of $20,000 to each survivor. This movement is important in the American History because it is an example of how many minority groups supported each other to help one minority group to attain reparations, and how the influences impacted the outcome of the movement.[4]



Achieving the Impossible Dream by Mitchell T. Maki, Harry H. L. Kitano, and S. Megan Berthold (Pages 64-116)

After camp by Greg Robinson (Chapter 11)

Image from Life Magazine on page 27

“Painting of a guard during night inspection”

Song: Pat Suzuki “Frenesi”

Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice

Civil Liberties Act of 1988

Presidential Apology Letter

Photograph of Ina Sugihara and Charles Crawford

Not Just A ‘Black Thing’: An Asian-American’s Bond with Malcolm X

Despite history, Japanese Americans and African Americans are working together to claim their rights

Getting to Reparations: Japanese Americans and African Americans


Day 1

1. Start the day by analyzing “Painting of a guard during night inspection” and have a short discussion on the internment camps
2. Hand out a copy of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and give them around 15-20 minutes to analyze the document
3. Have a small group discussion, of groups of 4 people each
4. Open up to the whole class, to discuss the meaning and reason for the document
5. For homework, ask them to find a secondary source that talks about the Japanese American Redress movement, and how it lead to the the civil liberties act that was analyzed in class

Day 2

  1. Start the day with a song from A Grain of Sand “Free the land” and have the students discuss what the goals of music was during this period
  2. Get into groups of 3-4 students, and ask each student to explain their papers, and why they chose that paper to define the redress movement
  3. Open up to a class discussion to define the redress movement and how it leads to the Civil Liberties Act of 1988
  4. For homework, they have to read pages 64-116 from the book, Achieving the Impossible Dream and Chapter 11 from After Camp by Greg Robinson

Day 3

  1. Analyze the image of Ina Sugihara and Charles Crawford
  2. Discussion about the African American movement’s impact on the Japanese Americans
  3. Whole class seminar
  4. Homework- find a primary document that shows the Japanese redress movement, and will have to write an analysis of the document and how it exemplifies the life of Japanese American movement. 2 pages, double spaced font 12, times new roman

Day 4

  1. Start off the class with a song by Pat Suzuki “Frenesi”
  2. Split into small groups to go over each other’s primary documents, and then have a short class discussion on the most important things students found
  3. For the rest of the class watch the documentary, “Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice”
  4. Homework: Come up with a few discussion question on the involvement of the African American movement on the redress movement. Read the article “Getting to Reparations: Japanese Americans and African Americans”

Day 5

  1. Start off the class by showing the image from LIFE, of Kochiyama and Malcolm X
  2. Start a class discussion with the questions students came up with
  3. For the remainder of the class, have them create a poster on the effect of African Americans on the redress movement, and ask each group to choose one specific event.
  4. Homework: Read the article “Despite history, Japanese Americans and African Americans are working together to claim their rights” and the presidential apology letter
  5. Write a two-page analysis on the presidential apology letter


  1. Nagata, Donna K., et. al. (2019). The Japanese American Wartime Incarceration: Examining the Scope of Racial Trauma. pg. 36-48
  2. Lo Wang, Hansi. (2013). Not Just a ‘Black Thing’: An Asian American’s Bond with Malcolm X
  3. Maki, Mitchell T., Kitano, Harry H. L., and Berthold S.M., (1999). Achieving the Impossible Dream. pg 117-136
  4. Hatamiya, Leslie T., (1993). Righting a Wrong. pg 191-198