The Japanese American Citizens League was founded to protect the civil rights of Japanese Americans but quickly became a champion of all civil rights issues affecting people of all backgrounds.
The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) was founded in California in 1929 in response to the anti-immigration fervor and legislature that was gaining popularity and support. The organization’s mission was to protect the civil rights and liberties of all people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, nationality, or gender.
Early twentieth century California had the largest Japanese American population of any state in the United States. It also had more than one hundred statutes limiting the rights of residents of Japanese ancestry. Groups such as the Grange and the
The importance of the JACL came to a head on December 7, 1941, after the attack on
Following the release of internees after World War II ended in 1945, the JACL continued to be a champion for civil rights. In 1946, the group began a painstaking campaign to repeal California’s alien land law, which prohibited Asian immigrants from owning land in the state. This was followed by the formation of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights in 1948 and support of the federal
In 1978, the JACL launched an investigation into the losses suffered by Japanese and Japanese Americans who had been sent to relocation camps. The organization supported the formation of a government commission, which was sponsored by President
During the early twenty-first century, the JACL continued to lobby for civil rights. One of the issues that it has championed is the right for humans to marry, including marriage for same-sex couples.
Gruenewald, Mary Matsuda. Looking Like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese American Internment Camps. Troutdale, Oreg.: NewSage Press, 2005. Harth, Erica. Last Witnesses: Reflections on the Wartime Internment of the Japanese. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. Japanese American Citizens League. The Journey from Gold Mountain: The Asian American Experience. San Francisco: JACL, 2006.
Asian American Legal Defense Fund
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Asiatic Barred Zone
Asiatic Exclusion League
Japanese American internment
Japanese American press
World War II