Densho Digital Archive
Steven Okazaki Collection
Title: Dale Minami Interview II
Narrator: Dale Minami
Location: Oakland, California
Date: February 18, 1984
Densho ID: denshovh-mdale-03-0003

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Q: Could you talk to us about Fred's ideas in taking a stance not to go, as it transformed from a personal decision to a moral one?

DM: I think initially, the way Fred even explains it is he had a girlfriend at the time, and they had plans to get married. He was, wanted to stay in the area, and the way he described it to us is that he would, the day after the exclusion order came out, there was tremendous confusion. All his family was preoccupied, everyone was leaving the area, and Fred didn't want to go because of his girlfriend and other personal reasons. So he said he, the day after everybody left, he went outside and walked around and nobody said anything, so he went and got a job. And nobody said anything. The next few days or so during that week he'd walk around outside and nobody said anything. So, he thought, "Hey, maybe no one will ever say anything about this." Well, he did get caught, and of course, while he was in jail, he was visited by a guy named Ernest Besig, from the American Civil Liberties Union. And Besig asked Fred if he were interested in fighting his case. Fred said sure, because one of the basic foundation assumptions I think Fred made is that, "There is no reason for me to go. There is no reason that I, as a citizen, as a loyal American citizen, should be taken away." And I think that is the basis for the reason he did not go. And the person reasons, of course, there were some of those, too, as he mentions. But somebody who did not have some convictions like Fred would not be willing to go through a court process like that, suffer a conviction, go to jail, as Fred did, without feeling something, something more than just a personal regard, I think, or a personal reason.


DM: I think in contrast to Gordon and Min, Fred did not really articulate an intellectual reason why he would resist like they were able to do. From Fred, and the hint that I got from Kathryn about Fred being really deep, I think it's really true, that he just felt it was wrong. And it's just about as simple as that. "It's wrong, then I'm not gonna go." And he did get caught, and I think during the period of time, the reasons why it was wrong crystalized, became more clear to Fred, as far as the fact that he was a loyal American citizen, he had committed no crime and there was no reason for him to go.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1984, 2010 Densho and Steven Okazaki. All Rights Reserved.