Exhibit on Gordon Hirabayashi

Civil Disobedience!
The Life and Legacy of Gordon K. Hirabayashi

Exhibit from University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, Pacific Northwest Collection

Date: February 3 through 28, 2014

Allen Library North Lobby

1940_GKH_Portraitcropped       2012 hirabayashi-medal-1

During World War II, 24 year-old University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi defied the United States order for Americans of Japanese ancestry to leave the West Coast for concentration camps.  He turned himself in to the FBI and was tried and convicted in the Federal District Court of Seattle. The case ultimately went to the Supreme Court where it was upheld.  After the war, Hirabayashi completed a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Washington, and went on to teach at American University in Beirut, American University in Cairo, and at the University of Alberta in Canada.

It was some 40 years later that Gordon Hirabayashi’s wartime conviction was overturned in an extraordinary case that exposed the suppression and alteration of evidence by the government.  Gordon’s principled stand to uphold the Constitution for all Americans is a legacy to be preserved. The story has  been documented in dozens of academic publications, documentaries, and theater productions.  Gordon dedicated his life to keeping the story of the injustice of Japanese American incarceration alive.  In May of 2012, five months after his death, he posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 2013, the personal papers of Gordon Hirabayashi were donated to the Pacific Northwest Collection of the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.  They join a growing collection of papers, oral histories, and photographs that help document the Japanese American experience in the Pacific Northwest.  This exhibit features items from his papers, including his prison diaries and photographs documenting his life.   The Gordon K. Hirabayashi Papers will be open for research  on February 24, 2014 in Special Collections.

Items from other collections featured in the exhibit are:

The Ring Family Papers, Acc. 4241, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.  Many letters from this collection are digitized and available online.

The S. Frank Miyamoto Collection, Acc. 2485, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections

Other Events:

The exhibit is in coordination with the upcoming symposium entitled Courage in Action:  A Symposium on the Life and Legacy of Gordon K. Hirabayashi,  for 2014 Day of Remembrance, February 22, 2014.  More information online here.

Hold These Truths, a play by Jeanne Sakata. Solo staged reading at Theatre off Jackson, concurrent with the SPF 8 Solo Performance Festival. Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. $15 general admission/$10 seniors and students.
Tickets and information available here.

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Published by

Anne Jenner, PNW Curator

I joined Special Collections as the Pacific Northwest Curator in the summer of 2012. Having earned an M.A. in Scandinavian Languages and Literature from the UW, this marks a return to the Pacific Northwest after embarking on a career as a university professor and librarian/archivist. Along the way, I earned an MLIS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and most recently served as Director of Archives and Special Collections at North Park University in Chicago. Before that, I worked as cataloger, and then Head of Library, at Augustana College’s Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center in Rock Island, Illinois. Previously, I served as Director of the Scandinavian Program and Lecturer in the Department of Germanics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. I hold a B.A. in Swedish with a minor in history from North Park College in Chicago.

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