Korematsu & Civil Liberties

From Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics and iCivics http://www.annenbergclassroom.org/page/korematsu-civil-liberties

This documentary video together with a 
related Civil Liberties in Wartime timeline can be used to teach high school students about a landmark Japanese internment case.  Korematsu v. U.S. (1944) concerned the constitutionality of Presidential Executive Order 9066 during World War II.  The video and its accompanying timeline can help students understand the meaning of being considered a U.S. citizen and what rights that status includes. 

The controversial order 9066 of World War II is a valuable way for presenters to speak about potential rights abuses of the government in times of war — the video notes that even Lincoln instituted martial law. 

How do you use it?

This resource is an engaging way for a high school audience to understand the particular challenges that wartime presents to civil rights.  The roughly half-hour video could be used as the introductory assignment in advance of a judge's presentation at a school or at the courthouse.  It could also be used during a presentation to help break up a "lecture" on the same material or to reinforce information presented. 

The video page links to other sources on the same site — to games, etc. concerning this topic.  (see the links immediately below)

There is no attached lesson plan to accompany this video nor is there one for the related Civil Liberties in Wartime timeline which shows students how wartime has affected civil liberties in the United States.  In presenting the timeline and the video itself, instructors would need to spend preparation time making sure they understood each element of the timeline well enough to explain it.   

The Annenberg Classroom website is a multimedia environment that gathers together videos, lesson plans, current news and interactive games.  As the site says:  "This website connects our award-winning, comprehensive curriculum on the Constitution and its amendments to daily civics news and student discussion. And when we say 'connects,' we really mean it. Twice daily, our nonpartisan writers sift through national and local news and select current events expressly for social studies classrooms. And twice weekly, they write an article on a portion of this news with links to our multimedia curriculum. You can use these articles—we call them 'Speak Outs'—in your class or right here online. When your students 'Speak Out' at AnnenbergClassroom.org, they participate in a moderated, national dialogue of their peers.  We publish up to 10 news stories a day, many media resources each year, and at least two Speak Outs each week during the school year."

Other Resources on the Annenberg Classroom Site:
Because of the range of resources on the site, judges and other presenters might find it valuable to browse deeper into the site to determine if there are other resources of value for a particular presentation.  There is special depth of curricular materials relating to the Constitution and the Courts.  For example, a related video on the "The Importance of the Japanese Internment Cases" can be found hereand the site also includes a Civil Liberties in Wartime timeline.  Links to organizations interested in the courts can be found here.  The homepage of the site can be found here.  All the videos on the site are gathered here.

Who is the audience?

The concepts explored in this video are quite sophisticated — and there is a significant amount of history involved — so the intended audience is older than a first glance might suggest.  The focus and specificity of video and the timeline make it especially appropriate for high school and older students, albeit the material and style of the video and timeline are sufficiently engaging that younger students could use the video and be taught from the timeline with some direction.

What other resources will complement this?

  1. 9/11 and the Constitution  Lesson plans from the Center for Civic Education (M, H)  
  2. A Day in the Life  Interactive "game" from PBS.org (M, H)
  3. Balancing Free Speech and Fair Trial   Lesson Plan from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (H)
  4. Courts in the Classroom  Videos from the Judicial Council of California and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (P, M H)
  5. Interpreting the Constitution: What Does That Mean?  Lesson Plan from iCivics (H)
  6. One Person, One Vote  Video and lesson plan from the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics (H, A)
  7. Perseverance and the Bill of Rights  Lesson plan from the Bill of Rights Institute, via the National Constitution Center (M, H)  
  8. Respecting Freedom of Speech  Lesson Plan from the Bill of Rights Institute, via the National Constitution Center (M, H)  
  9. Supreme Decision  Game from iCivics (M, H) 
  10. The First and Fourteenth Amendments  Lesson Plan from Channel One (M, H)  
  11. The Story of the Bill of Rights  Videos and game from the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics (M, H)
  12. Yick Wo and the Equal Protection Clause  Video from the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics (H, A)

Additional Recommended Resources Off-Site Links
  1. A Constitutional Timeline
    • Multi-aged audience timeline that highlights key dates in history of Constitution, with links to text, audio and video clips. From National Constitution Center's Constitution Day site. 
  2. Interactive Constitution
    • Multi-aged audience site that enables users to search Constitution by keyword or topic, with access to explanatory materials throughout. From National Constitution Center.   
  3. The Annenberg Guide to the United States Constitution
    • Multi-aged audience site that lists the text of each section of every article in the Constitution, and provides explanation of what the text means in plain language.  From the Leonore Annenberg Institute of Civics. 
  4. Understanding the Federal Courts
    • Multi-aged online textbook-type document that includes sections on Article III, the Federal Court system and the geographical boundaries of the Courts of Appeal and the District Courts, the code of conduct for judges, juror qualifications, exemptions and terms of service, as well as categories of bankruptcy cases.  From the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.