Greg Robinson

Greg Robinson, a native New Yorker, is Professor of History at l'Université du Québec À Montréal, a French-language institution in Montreal, Canada. He is the author of the books By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans (Harvard University Press, 2001), A Tragedy of Democracy; Japanese Confinement in North America (Columbia University Press, 2009), After Camp: Portraits in Postwar Japanese Life and Politics (University of California Press, 2012), and Pacific Citizens: Larry and Guyo Tajiri and Japanese American Journalism in the World War II Era (University of Illinois Press, 2012) and coeditor of the anthology Miné Okubo: Following Her Own Road (University of Washington Press, 2008). His historical column “The Great Unknown and the Unknown Great,” is a well-known feature of the Nichi Bei Weekly newspaper. Robinson's latest book is The Great Unknown: Japanese American Sketches (University Press of Colorado, 2016).

Updated June 2017

politics en

Loren Miller: African American Defender of Japanese American Equality

Loren Miller (1903-1967), an African American attorney and newspaperman from Los Angeles, worked to build American democracy during a career that spanned almost 40 years. Although Miller worked with the National Lawyers Guild and numerous other organizations, he made his most lasting contributions as a civil rights lawyer during the 1930s and 1940s, in association with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union. However, in addition to his primary work on behalf of African Americans, Miller’s efforts as a defender of Japanese Americans deserve extended study.

Born in Nebraska and ...

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culture en

Not Just a Single Man: Christopher Isherwood's Nisei Connections

Christopher Isherwood’s short novel A Single Man, which has won increased sales and attention in recent years as a result of Tom Ford’s luminous 2009 screen adaptation, stands as a groundbreaking piece of literature. Published in 1964, five years before the Stonewall riots and the birth of the modern LGBT movement, the book is often referred to as one of the first works of modern queer literature, in that it features a gay protagonist who is “normal” (i.e. not evil or self-hating because of his sexuality) and suggests that homosexuals in America represent a minority group who ...

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war en ja es pt

Defending Nikkei: Hugh Macbeth and the Japanese American Internment

Hugh Macbeth, Sr., a Black attorney from Los Angeles, is largely forgotten today, but he deserves commemoration as an outstanding defender of Japanese Americans during World War II. Born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1884, Hugh Ellwood Macbeth attended Fisk University and Harvard Law School, graduating in 1908. After living several years in Baltimore, where he was founding editor of the newspaper The Baltimore Times, in 1913 he headed to California.

In the decades that followed, Macbeth became an important player on the Los Angeles legal and political scene. He concentrated on aiding African American litigants and criminal defendants, and ...

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identity en

Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity

Speaking Out in Seattle: The JANM Conference

I was privileged to attend the 2013 Japanese American National Museum conference in Seattle. It commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, granting surviving Japanese Americans redress for their wartime confinement. The conference was a concentrated and rather intense experience, for a number of reasons.

I arrived at the conference on Friday, July 5. Sadly, I missed out on the morning planning session for Tule Lake, which I heard afterwards had been quite a lively session. Once I was registered, I went around the hall greeting people I knew and being introduced to others.

The first ...

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identity en

After Camp, Canadian Style: The Japanese Canadian Post War Experience Conference - Part 2 of 2

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One hint as to the prevailing spirit was that during the day several different people spoke of working in Jewish firms, which were the only ones that did not practice discrimination, or compared their experience with Jewish friends and classmates (Frank Moritsugu spoke of being hired in 1952 by McLean’s and being welcomed by the staff. Soon after, a reporter who had been on assignment returned, ushered Frank into his office, shut the door, and then said, “As the first Jew in this building, let me welcome the first Japanese.” The man, Sid Katz, had broken ...

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