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Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga (1925 – 2018), Japanese-American researcher uncovered truth behind World War II internments

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Spent World War II in Japanese-American internment camp

Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga (1925 – 2018), activist and researcher uncovered U.S. government documents that proved the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II was racially motivated. Her research led Congress to approve reparations to camp prisoners, and a formal apology by President Ronald Reagan.

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Died: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 (Who else died on July 18?)

Details of death: Died in Torrance, California, at the age of 93

Her personal experience in the camps: She was denied graduation from her Los Angeles high school in 1942, and sent to Manzanar camp in the California desert where she gave birth to her first child. Her father died at an Arkansas internment camp during the war. She kept a coil of barbed wire in her apartment as a reminder of her ordeal.

Notable quote: “I’m just a little old housewife. I’m not a professional archivist,” she told the Los Angeles Times in 1988. “But I guess I showed that one person can make a difference.”

What people said about her: “Her discovery of that original published justification, which was then later altered 180 degrees, revealed that the motivation for incarceration was not really a military necessity but outright racism,” —Dale Minami, San Francisco attorney, describing her discovery of the sole surviving copy of a document the government believed had been destroyed

Full obituary: Washington Post

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