Oral History Interview with Fumiko I. Shimada
Nisei female, born on July 7, 1939 in Sparks, Nevada. Her father, Kametaro Ishii, worked for Southern Pacific Railroad in Sparks. He was fired on February 18, 1942 after twenty-two years of service under Presidential Proclamation 2525, effective December 7, 1941, which specified that persons considered security risks, e.g., Japanese, Italians or Germans, could not work on railroad property, be near railroad tracks, bridges, tunnels or stations. Mr. Ishii was forced to take low paying jobs and he could no longer hunt or fish. His guns and ammunition were confiscated by the police and fishing sites exceeded the five mile limit from home to which Japanese were held. The family was not subjected to internment as they were not residents of the west coast. After the Civil Rights Act of 1988 was signed by President Reagan, the Office of Redress Administration (ORA) of the Justice Department processed applications for Japanese American families placed in U.S. internment camps during WWII. Recipients of approved claims received a letter of apology from the President of the United States and a reparation check for $20,000. Fumiko and others with a family member fired by railroads and mining companies applied on the basis that the government was directly responsible for job loss. ORA denied these claims on the basis that newspaper clippings and information submitted with applications were unacceptable evidence of government responsibility. Fumikoï¿½s interview and documents in the appendix in the bound copy describe in detail the various processes, persons and organizations involved which resulted in ORA overturning its position in July 1998. Fifteen fired employees and 155 family members became eligible for redress and reparation. The range of supporters include the Japanese American Citizens League, National Coalition for Redress and Reparation, Andy Russell, a graduate student who wrote his thesis on Japanese Americans in Nevada and had copies of FBI directives to railroad attorneys about removing Japanese from jobs. Michi Nishiura Weglyn, author of Years of Infamy; and Bill Lann Lee, Acting Assistant Attorney General For Civil Rights.
Transcript available at California State University, Sacramento University Library
3 Tapes of 3
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