1911 - 1950

Immigrants' Rights: 1948

U.S. Supreme Court overturns a California Supreme Court decision in People v. Oyama and invalidates a component of the “Alien Land Law” barring Japanese immigrants from purchasing land in the names of their U.S. citizen children.

World War II Incarceration: 1948

President Harry Truman signs the Japanese Evacuation Claims Act providing limited compensation for property losses suffered by former incarcerees.

Dissent: 1949

Regents of the University of California require all faculty to sign a loyalty oath, causing some professor to protest that the oath violates academic freedom. The controversy lasts for over a year until the state supreme court invalidates the oath on narrow grounds.

See part of an oral history interview with professor Howard Schachman on the loyalty oath:

Dissent: 1949

Dalton Trumbo (right)Dalton Trumbo (right)Hollywood Ten convicted of contempt of Congress and serve time in prison.

World War II Incarceration: 1950

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rules that although the government allowed repressive conditions at Tule Lake that contributed to the renunciations, the government must be given the opportunity to prove that specific individuals would have renounced their citizenship regardless of the intimidation and violence in the camp.  Faced with the prospect of thousands of trials, the Justice Department creates a process allowing a renunciant to file an affidavit explaining the reasons for renunciation.  If nothing in the government’s files contradicted the affidavit, the renunciant will reg

Dissent: 1950

Legislature passes the Levering Act, named after Santa Monica Assembly Member Harold Levering, which requires all state employees to swear they do not advocate the violent overthrow of the government, and to list organizations so advocating to which they have belonged during the previous five years. State employees must also promise not to join such groups. San Francisco State University (SFSU) becomes a hub of opposition to the oath. Eventually, nine SFSU professors are fired for not signing the oath.

Censorship: 1950

ACLU of Northern California executive director Ernest Besig sues the U.S. customs service over censorship of Henry Miller’s erotic novels Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn; the courts rule against him in 1951 and 1953.

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