Janice Marion Wright LaMoree

Janice Marion Wright LaMoree is the daughter of J. Marion Wright. For fifty-seven years, 1913-1970, her father was attorney and friend of Nisei and Issei Japanese in the United States. He was grateful for their trust in him and proud to be their advocate. Mr. Wright’s family is honored that the Japanese American National Museum is preserving the record of his achievements in the pursuit of justice.

Updated March 18, 2010

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J. Marion Wright: Los Angeles' Patient Crusader 1890-1970 - Part 6

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As the second and third generation of Japanese in the United States grew to maturity, a number of these young people became lawyers. They had none of the restrictions and difficulties which their predecessors had faced. They could help their own people. Marion Wright’s work with the Japanese tapered off somewhat but he still retained the respect and trust of his long-time clients and their families and continued to do legal work for them throughout the rest of his life.

After the confusion of the post-war years had subsided, the law practice became diversified. Wright handled ...

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J. Marion Wright: Los Angeles' Patient Crusader 1890-1970 - Part 5

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With the attack on Pearl Harbor, the attention of the entire nation was focused on the Japanese. Wright’s energies were directed almost exclusively toward the problems, which the Japanese in California faced as a result of the conflict.

Most Americans and all Japanese in the United States and abroad know the sad story of the Japanese internment during World War II. By 1941 there were many Nisei, people of Japanese ancestry, who were citizens of the United States by birth. These young people were enterprising and diligent. They took advantage of educational opportunities and became professionals ...

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J. Marion Wright: Los Angeles' Patient Crusader 1890-1970 - Part 4

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After this case Marion’s services were in such demand that the majority of his practice was with the Japanese who were grateful to him for his interest in their welfare. Two actions which were forerunners of Marion’s most memorable legal victories were cases of escheat. This legal term has been used since the beginning of old English law. Escheat describes an action in which the governing body, in this case the State of California, takes over possession and ownership of property which the state claims has been illegally obtained by an individual or group.

The ...

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J. Marion Wright: Los Angeles' Patient Crusader 1890-1970 - Part 3

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In 1913, the year of graduation from law school for Miyasaki and Wright, the Alien Land Act was passed by the California legislature. In short, it provided that land in the state could be owned only by those who were eligible for citizenship. The important phrase, eligible for citizenship, was a part of the Naturalization Act which was passed by the first United States Congress in 1790. Citizenship was to be given only to those who were born in the United States, and, through naturalization, only to those who were free and white. Blacks, American Indians, all ...

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J. Marion Wright: Los Angeles' Patient Crusader 1890-1970 - Part 2

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It was in USC Law School that some friendships developed which were to change the course of many lives. Marion Wright became acquainted with two Japanese students, both aliens, who were studying law in the United States. One of these, Motohiko Miyasaki, returned to Japan soon after graduation. The other man, Sei Fujii, became a close friend. Fuji later became the founder and editor of the Japanese newspaper, Kashu Mainichi, and an ally on the long road toward civil rights for Japanese people in the United States.

It was rather unusual to find Japanese nationals studying for ...

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