Charles Z. Smith Interview Segment 8

Family background: "son of a Cuban immigrant and an African American mother" (ddr-densho-1000-169-1) - 00:04:23
Ethnic identity growing up: son of a Cuban immigrant (ddr-densho-1000-169-2) - 00:04:44
Growing up in a segregated town: "the world was divided between whites and blacks" (ddr-densho-1000-169-3) - 00:05:31
Musical background as a child: familiarity with African American spirituals (ddr-densho-1000-169-4) - 00:03:52
A voracious appetite for reading as a child; starting school at age three (ddr-densho-1000-169-5) - 00:06:24
Starting college at age fourteen under guidance of mentor, Dr. William H. Gray, Jr. (ddr-densho-1000-169-6) - 00:07:32
Influence of mentor over a ten-year period: age fourteen to twenty-four (ddr-densho-1000-169-7) - 00:05:16
Thoughts on the bombing of Pearl Harbor: "my thoughts were generated largely by the war propaganda" (ddr-densho-1000-169-8) - 00:02:39
Enlisting in U.S. army as part of "rebellion" against mentor's influence (ddr-densho-1000-169-9) - 00:07:21
Serving in segregated military system: witnessing unequal treatment based on race (ddr-densho-1000-169-10) - 00:03:13
Deciding to attend law school at the University of Washington; thoughts on moving to Seattle (ddr-densho-1000-169-11) - 00:09:10
Law school experience at the University of Washington: feeling satisfied with legal career choice (ddr-densho-1000-169-12) - 00:05:39
First exposure to the Asian American experience through friends in Seattle, Washington (ddr-densho-1000-169-13) - 00:03:08
Learning about the Japanese American incarceration experience: participating in the first Day of Remembrance ceremonies (ddr-densho-1000-169-14) - 00:09:39
Thoughts on the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilian redress hearings: "it was moving, absolutely moving" (ddr-densho-1000-169-15) - 00:04:07
Meeting future wife while still in law school (ddr-densho-1000-169-16) - 00:07:11
Serving on the legal team in the prosecution of Dave Beck of the Teamsters union (ddr-densho-1000-169-17) - 00:04:49
Serving as Special Assistant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy in Washington, D.C.; working to prosecute James Hoffa (ddr-densho-1000-169-18) - 00:07:58
Investigating James Hoffa: security issues (ddr-densho-1000-169-19) - 00:05:48
Serving in the Justice Department during the Civil Rights movement, but not directly participating (ddr-densho-1000-169-20) - 00:07:15
Observing the Civil Rights March on Washington from home: "I regret that I missed it" (ddr-densho-1000-169-21) - 00:02:54
An emotional reaction: remembering the assassination of Robert Kennedy (ddr-densho-1000-169-22) - 00:04:00
Thoughts on difficult social issues in the United States: assassinations, racial lynchings, murders (ddr-densho-1000-169-23) - 00:07:39
Message to young people: importance of public service (ddr-densho-1000-169-24) - 00:03:11
Lessons from the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans: be wary of inaccurate interpretations of history (ddr-densho-1000-169-25) - 00:04:36
Discussion of important current issues in the world (ddr-densho-1000-169-26) - 00:10:38
The legacy of Justice Charles Z. Smith (ddr-densho-1000-169-27) - 00:02:41
Thoughts on Japanese American redress: "I was literally stunned" (ddr-densho-1000-169-28) - 00:06:31
African American versus Japanese American redress: "I think the only thing they have in common is the demand for redress" (ddr-densho-1000-169-29) - 00:08:34
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ddr-densho-1000-169-8 (Legacy UID: denshovh-scharles-01-0008)

Thoughts on the bombing of Pearl Harbor: "my thoughts were generated largely by the war propaganda"

00:02:39 — Segment 8 of 29

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August 13, 2004

Densho Visual History Collection


Courtesy of Densho


Charles Z. Smith

Charles Z. Smith Interview

02:46:23 — 29 segments

August 13, 2004

Seattle, Washington

Born February 23, 1927, in Lakeland, Florida. Left home at age fourteen to live under the educational supervision of Dr. William H. Gray, Jr., attended Florida A & M, and graduated with a degree in business administration from Temple University. Graduated from University of Washington Law School in 1955, then served as law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Matthew W. Hill. Worked as both deputy prosecuting attorney for King County and in private law practice, before moving to Washington, D.C., to take position as Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the United States in the legal field. Justice Smith was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court in 1988, where he served until his retirement in 2002. Justice Smith received the University of Washington Law School's Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1990, and was appointed by President Clinton to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in 1999. He has also won the Asian Bar Association's Judge of the Year award as well as the Lifetime Service Award from the Washington State Bar Association. During his long and illustrious career, Justice Smith has served on the boards of several Asian American community organizations, and worked on behalf of immigrants' rights.

Tom Ikeda, interviewer; Dana Hoshide, videographer


Courtesy of Densho