Hope and California: Two Minority Perspectives
A key figure in the orchestration of the removal of persons of Japanese descent to internment camps was California Attorney General Earl Warren; subsequent Governor and eventual Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In his autobiography (2001), Warren confessed, “I have since deeply regretted the removal order and my own testimony advocating it, because it was not in keeping with our American concept of freedom and the rights of citizens. Whenever I thought of the innocent little children who were torn from home, school friends and congenial surroundings, I was conscience-stricken.”
Per historians LaFountaine and Wang (1995), in the entire course of the war, ten people were convicted of spying for Japan — all of whom were Caucasian.
Two Individual Viewpoints
Following are the individual perspectives of two members of the groups discussed in this paper. These testimonials are intended to provide insight into hope and its affect on their personal migrations to California. They also speak to the legacy of their ancestors and the role of hope in their personal lives.
Tom H. (African American)
I was born in a small town in Alabama in 1959 — the advent of the Civil Rights movement. It’s interesting being from that place at that time. People often assume that I was engulfed in tense race relations and that my youth must have been tainted, if not scarred, by the overwhelming prejudice that dominated the South. However, my experiences growing up were hardly adverse and minimally impacted by the burgeoning Civil Rights struggle and its attendant difficulties. I’m not sure if it was because of a sheltered upbringing or my extreme denial, but I recall a fairly normal childhood and adolescence. In fact, the only time I’ve been called the “n” word to my face was when I was involved in an altercation in California.