During World War II, 120,000 Japanese Americans, almost two-thirds of whom were American citizens, were forcibly relocated and interned in concentration camps by the United States government. The official reason was military necessity, but in reality it was a combination of racism, xenophobia, economic competition, frenzied public opinion, and fear. Fred Korematsu challenged the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066. He lost his case at the time, but the US Supreme Court decision was later reversed when it was discovered that the US government deliberately suppressed information and misled the US Supreme Court in 1944. This second decision paved the way to eventual apology and reparations for all internees. Fred Korematsu later won the US Congressional Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.
After 65 years, the Korematsu case and the experience of the Japanese American internment is still relevant today because after 9/11, many people called for interning Arab Americans, again out of fear, racism, and xenophobia. The Japanese American community was the first to stand up for Arab Americans and say never again. (click on link for more)
"Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story" at AADL - AnnArbor.com