Dale Minami Interview Segment 1

Family background: maternal and paternal grandparents from Kagoshima and Kumamoto prefectures in Japan (ddr-densho-1000-141-1) - 00:02:51
Father's life in Gardena, California: gardening and running a sporting goods store in Little Tokyo (ddr-densho-1000-141-2) - 00:06:49
Growing up in the "fairly multicultural" community of Gardena, California (ddr-densho-1000-141-3) - 00:05:27
Importance of sports in the Gardena, California community (ddr-densho-1000-141-4) - 00:02:04
Looking back on childhood: "I was extremely driven" (ddr-densho-1000-141-5) - 00:05:17
Influence of two older brothers on life (ddr-densho-1000-141-6) - 00:04:31
Discussion of reasons for conformity and competitiveness in Gardena, California (ddr-densho-1000-141-7) - 00:02:43
Not fully understanding the history of the incarceration experience until law school; witnessing an emotional reaction from mother (ddr-densho-1000-141-8) - 00:05:38
Parents' ability to open up about their World War II experiences during the beginnings of the redress movement (ddr-densho-1000-141-9) - 00:02:48
Helping with early redress efforts while in law school (ddr-densho-1000-141-10) - 00:02:46
College years: witnessing the riots in Watts, California, development of racial consciousness (ddr-densho-1000-141-11) - 00:06:32
Taking stance against the Vietnam War, avoiding the draft on a medical deferment (ddr-densho-1000-141-12) - 00:04:23
Enrolling at UC Berkeley Law School during a time of social turmoil (ddr-densho-1000-141-13) - 00:04:33
Adjusting to law school: learning the grading system, feeling alienated (ddr-densho-1000-141-14) - 00:05:21
Involvement in the push for affirmative action in law school (ddr-densho-1000-141-15) - 00:03:33
Feeling anger upon reading Korematsu v. U.S. in law school (ddr-densho-1000-141-16) - 00:05:10
Teaching Ethnic Studies classes immediately after graduating from law school (ddr-densho-1000-141-17) - 00:04:59
After passing the bar exam, working to form the Asian Law Caucus (ddr-densho-1000-141-18) - 00:06:31
Early work of the Asian Law Caucus: using law as a political education tool (ddr-densho-1000-141-19) - 00:06:25
Representing Don Nakanishi in a tenure case against UCLA (ddr-densho-1000-141-20) - 00:03:59
Risks involved in the early cases of the Asian Law Caucus (ddr-densho-1000-141-21) - 00:02:34
Establishment of the Bay Area Attorneys for Redress (BAAR) (ddr-densho-1000-141-22) - 00:05:55
Beginnings of the coram nobis effort: contacted by Peter Irons (ddr-densho-1000-141-23) - 00:03:24
Initial meeting with Peter Irons, introduction to the idea of coram nobis (ddr-densho-1000-141-24) - 00:04:50
Reaction to Peter Irons' "smoking gun" documents regarding Korematsu: "I was stunned" (ddr-densho-1000-141-25) - 00:05:14
Formation of the coram nobis legal teams; discussion of legal strategy (ddr-densho-1000-141-26) - 00:05:11
First impressions of Fred Korematsu; Fred's initial concern over the legal team's youth, lack of experience (ddr-densho-1000-141-27) - 00:06:34
Discussion of decision to form three separate legal teams (ddr-densho-1000-141-28) - 00:04:04
Recalling a telephone conversation in which Dale "crossed swords" with Min Yasui (ddr-densho-1000-141-29) - 00:03:29
Style differences between the Korematsu lawyers and the legal teams in Seattle and Portland (ddr-densho-1000-141-30) - 00:02:11
Fundraising strategies for the coram nobis effort (ddr-densho-1000-141-31) - 00:04:11
Connections between the coram nobis litigation effort and the redress movement (ddr-densho-1000-141-32) - 00:05:04
Decision to file three separate cases; Fred and Kathryn Korematsu's rejection of a pardon: "We should be pardoning the government" (ddr-densho-1000-141-33) - 00:04:46
Media strategy in the coram nobis effort (ddr-densho-1000-141-34) - 00:03:28
(ddr-densho-1000-141-35) - 00:01:04
Personal management style, conflicts with other members of the legal team (ddr-densho-1000-141-36) - 00:05:58
Gender dynamics and the legal team (ddr-densho-1000-141-37) - 00:03:17
Presenting Fred Korematsu's case in a larger political context: "this is an American story about civil rights" (ddr-densho-1000-141-38) - 00:03:44
Hearing on the petition before Judge Marilyn Hall Patel; writing the argument to be presented the following day (ddr-densho-1000-141-39) - 00:06:46
The government's repeated attempts to delay Korematsu's coram nobis case (ddr-densho-1000-141-40) - 00:04:31
The day of the hearing: Korematsu's conviction is reversed (ddr-densho-1000-141-41) - 00:06:00
Impact of the Korematsu coram nobis case, historically and personally (ddr-densho-1000-141-42) - 00:05:52
Thoughts on being the chair of the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund (ddr-densho-1000-141-43) - 00:04:28
Impact of the original Korematsu case on current events (ddr-densho-1000-141-44) - 00:05:38
Reflections: the importance of history (ddr-densho-1000-141-45) - 00:05:31
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ddr-densho-1000-141-1 (Legacy UID: denshovh-mdale-01-0001)

Family background: maternal and paternal grandparents from Kagoshima and Kumamoto prefectures in Japan

00:02:51 — Segment 1 of 45

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February 8, 2003

Densho Visual History Collection


Courtesy of Densho


Dale Minami

Dale Minami Interview

03:26:04 — 45 segments

February 8, 2003

Seattle, Washington

Sansei male. Born in Los Angeles, California on October 13, 1946, and grew up in Gardena, California. Received B.A. in Political Science from University of Southern California, graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1968. Received J.D., 1971, from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California. Mr. Minami was a co-founder of the Asian Law Caucus, Inc., a co-founder of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, the Asian Pacific Bar of California and the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans. He was involved in significant litigation affecting civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans and other minorities, including Korematsu v. United States, a lawsuit to overturn a 40 year old conviction for refusal to obey exclusion orders aimed at Japanese Americans during WWII, originally upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in landmark decisions; United Pilipinos for Affirmative Action v. California Blue Shield, the first class action employment lawsuit brought by Asian Pacific Americans on behalf of Asian Pacific Americans; Spokane JACL v. Washington State University, a class action on behalf of Asian Pacific Americans to establish an Asian American Studies program at Washington State University; and Nakanishi v. UCLA, a claim for unfair denial of tenure which resulted in the granting of tenure after widespread publicity over discrimination in academia. Mr. Minami represents Kristi Yamaguchi, the 1992 Olympic Gold Medal skater, playwright Philip Kan Gotanda, actor Lane Nishikawa, and others in the fields of media and entertainment. He is counsel to the National Asian American Telecommunications Association and the Asian American Journalists' Association. Mr. Minami has taught at University of California, Berkeley and Mills College in Oakland, CA and has been a Commissioner of the State of California's Fair Employment and Housing Commission, a Commissioner on the State Bar of California, Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, the Chair of the Attorney General's Asian/Pacific Advisory Committee and a Member of Senator Barbara Boxer's Judicial Screening Committee. He was Chair of the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund Commission, appointed by President Clinton in 1994. Mr. Minami has received numerous awards including the State Bar President's Pro bono Service Award, an honorary Juris Doctor degree from the McGeorge School of Law, designation of a dormitory at the University of California at Santa Cruz as the "Queen Liliuokalani-Minami" Dormitory, awards from the Coro Foundation, the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, the Harry Dow Memorial Fellowship in Boston, the Fred Korematsu Civil Rights Fund Award, the Organization of Chinese Americans, the Japanese American Youth Center and the Centro Legale de la Raza. Mr. Minami is a partner with Minami, Lew and Tamaki in San Francisco, and specializes in personal injury and entertainment law.

Tom Ikeda, interviewer; Margaret Chon, interviewer; Dana Hoshide, videographer


Courtesy of Densho