JANM Commemorates the Civil Liberties Act of 1988

In observance of the anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, JANM will be closed on Wednesday, August 10, 2022.

On August 10, 1988, President Ronald Reagan issued a formal presidential apology and symbolic payment of financial reparations to surviving Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II. Although many of the first generation Issei had already passed away and did not receive the apology, which occurred more than 40 years later, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was the first and only time that the US government publicly apologized for a mistake acknowledging that the exclusion, forced removal, and mass incarceration was due to a failure of political leadership, war hysteria, and racism.

JANM honors this anniversary to acknowledge the unconstitutional, mass incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans in remote US concentration camps without due process or evidence of wrongdoing 80 years ago. While recognizing the apology, JANM is also well aware that other past mistakes by the US government against Blacks and indigenous communities deserve recognition and reparations. 

To learn more about the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, explore these online educational resources from JANM:

Photo: President Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 on August 10, 1988. From left to right, he is flanked by Senator Matsunaga of Hawaii, Representative Mineta of California, Representative Saiki of Hawaii, Senator Wilson of California, Representative Young of Alaska, Representative Matsui of California, Representative Lowery of California, and Harry Kajihara, president of the Japanese American Citizens League. Photo courtesy of The Ronald Reagan Library and National Archives and Records Administration.

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