Matsui’s legacy lives on in digital archive
T. Matsui on the phone in his Congressional office.
State has developed a new digital archive focused on the late Congressman Robert
T. Matsui’s leadership in gaining redress and reparations for Japanese
Americans interned during World War II.
The online collection
features video clips, photographs, speeches and more. It can be accessed at
Major funding for
the project was provided by the California State Library, California Civil Liberties
Public Education Program.
The unveiling of the archive will be celebrated on Feb. 19, the “Day of Remembrance” and the 65th anniversary of Executive Order No. 9066, which
authorized the removal of 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry from West Coast
states. Congresswoman Doris O. Matsui, representative of the 5th Congressional
District of California and Sacramento State and professor Tim Fong say there
is a wealth of information in the new archive.
The digital archive
is designed for a number of different audiences.
to let the public know about the important contributions that Robert
Matsui made in the areas of reparations and redress,” says Fong, who directs
the Asian American studies program at Sacramento State. “We believe that
this digital archive will be widely used by students and teachers, from elementary
school through high school, as well as colleges, researchers and anyone interested
in American history.”
The archive contains
digital reproductions of historical photographs, videos and audio clips, newspaper
articles, speeches and congressional documents gathered from the Library of
Congress and other government sources, media outlets and Congresswoman Matsui.
It is its multi-media
approach that makes the archive such a dynamic tool for learning. “This
balance between visuals and text manages to capture the essence of this important
national leader at a pivotal period in his life,” Fong says. “Nowhere
else can you get this history in such a compelling format. It establishes Sacramento
State as a leader in multi-media digital archives.”
also has a digital archive featuring items from its extensive Japanese American
Archival Collection, and in recent years developed a digital collection focused
on African American slavery in California. These are available at digital.lib.csus.edu.
Redress and reparations
for Japanese Americans was a cause close to Matsui’s heart. Prior to World
War II, the Matsui family lived in Sacramento and, in 1942, were moved to an
assembly center and an internment camp. The experience left a lasting mark.
Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978, Matsui was committed to
civil rights and equal justice throughout his 26 years of congressional service.
In 1988, Matsui
and others helped shape and shepherd the Japanese American Redress Act (HR 442)
through Congress. It offered monetary compensation and a formal apology for
the World War II internment of Japanese Americans. The legislation was signed
into law by President Ronald Reagan on August 10, 1988.
Matsui also played
a major role in getting Manzanar (one of the 10 internment camps) designated
as a National Historic Site and helped secure land on the National Mall in Washington,
D.C. for the Japanese American Memorial to commemorate Japanese American patriotism
during World War II.