Japanese American Internment

The children in this Dorothea Lange photograph were students at Raphael Weill Public School (subsequently renamed the Rosa Parks School), located in the heart of “Little Tokyo” in San Francisco. The year was 1942, just one month before all people of Japanese descent in San Francisco, including all of the Japanese American children depicted in this photograph, were removed and sent to internment camps. In Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944), the Supreme Court upheld the Japanese American internment orders.

In addition, these children were depicted saluting the flag. One year after the internment of Japanese Americans began, the Supreme Court held in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943), that a state may not require schoolchildren to salute the American flag or to pledge allegiance to it.

Little Tokyo

Photo credit: Museum of the City of San Francisco.

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