California Civil Liberties Program
The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program (California Civil Liberties Program) is a state-funded grant project to sponsor public educational activities and development of educational materials to ensure that the events surrounding the exclusion, forced removal, and internment of civilians and permanent resident aliens of Japanese ancestry will be remembered so that the causes and circumstance of this and similar events may be illuminated and understood. The California Civil Liberties Program is administered by the California State Library.
The agency is directed by statue to administer a competitive grant program to educate the public through the development, coordination, and distribution of new educational materials and the development of curriculum materials to complement and augment resources currently available on this subject matter regarding the history and the lessons of civil rights violations or civil liberties injustices that have been carried out against other communities or populations, including, but not limited to, civil rights violations or civil liberties injustices that are perpetrated on the basis of an individual’s race, national origin, immigration status, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
Information about the California Civil Liberties Program
Prior to World War II, California was home to more Japanese Americans than any other state. On February 19, 1942, just weeks after the United States entered the war, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, giving the Secretary of War the authority “to exclude any and all persons, citizens, and aliens from designated areas in order to provide for security against sabotage and espionage. …” As a result of this executive order, the lives of thousands of Californians were affected.
Over 120,000 U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry and permanent resident aliens from Japan were removed from their homes by the Army and first taken to "assembly centers," which were temporary quarters at racetracks and fairgrounds. They were later taken to "relocation camps," which were bleak barrack camps, mostly in desolate areas of the West. Some families spent ears living under these conditions and suffered enormous personal and economic losses.
Almost 40 years after Executive Order 9066 was signed, Congress conducted a bipartisan review of the executive order’s impacts. The resulting publication, Personal Justice Denied, was published in 1982 (Part 1) and 1983 (Part 2) by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and the Internment of Civilians. The report led to a federal law was enacted to issue a public apology for internment, make individual restitution to those interned and create a public education fund. The federal public education funding lasted for approximately three years, and related projects concluded by the end of the 1980s.
In 1998, the state Legislature created the California Civil Liberties Public Education program. The program received funding of as high as $1 million annually from 1998 through 2011, when the funding was eliminated from the California budget. At the request of Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco, Gov. Brown approved $1 million in one-time funding for the program in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
Legislation in 2017 by Al Muratsuchi, AB 417, clarified administrative details, established an advisory board, and encouraged projects that provide information about civil rights violations or civil liberties injustices that are perpetrated on the basis of an individual's race, national origin, immigration status, religion, gender, or sexual orientation as well as the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
With support from legislators like Assembly members Ting and Muratsuchi, the governor included $3 million in the 2017-18 Budget to continue funding through June 30, 2020.
For information on the projects funded by funds from fiscal year 2016-17, please see the Civil Liberties grantees press release from spring 2017.
Not every California Civil Liberties Program project resulted in a tangible product that could be included in the California State Library catalog. Projects that resulted in books, films, curriculum, etc., have been cataloged.
To search for a specific project from the list, enter the project number in the search box next to "Type word or phrase" on this page of the catalog.
For additional information about California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, contact:
California State Library
P.O. Box 942837
Sacramento, CA 94237-0001
California State Library
900 N Street, Room 155
Sacramento, CA 95814