Illinois Governor Honoring Japanese Internment Icon Fred Korematsu

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US President Bill Clinton (R) stands with Fred Kor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Gov. Pat Quinn is declaring Jan. 30 as “Fred Korematsu Day” across Illinois.

The proclamation makes Illinois the fourth state in the nation to have a day honoring the Asian-American civil rights activist.

Korematsu challenged Japanese-American internment during World War II in what became a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case.

In a statement, Quinn called the California native “a heroic figure” who worked to make “the world a better place for everyone.”

Born in 1919, Korematsu refused to go to an internment camp. He had plastic surgery and created an alias before he was arrested in 1942. After being approached by the American Civil Liberties Union, Korematu’s case tested the constitutionality of the camps.

He received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998 and died in 2005.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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