Reading the Walls: The Struggles of the Haradas, a Japanese American Family

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Jan 200929 Jan 201030

Riverside Metropolitan Museum
3580 Mission Inn Avenue
Riverside, California, 92501
United States

Under the stewardship of the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, the National Historic Landmark Harada House is among the most significant and powerful civil rights landmarks in California. This site and the story of the Harada family embody local, state, national, and international issues of civil and individual rights, democracy, immigration, assimilation, and citizenship.

Reading the Walls: The Struggle of the Haradas, a Japanese American Family tells the nearly 100 year history of one immigrant Japanese family and their quest for the American Dream. That dream was partly fulfilled when their ownership of the home, bought by family patriarch Jukichi Harada in the names of his American-born children, was contested in court in the landmark State of California vs. Jukichi Harada, et al. The Riverside County Superior Court upheld the children’s ownership under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, essentially proclaiming that as natural-born citizens of America they had every right to own property.

Until 1941, the Haradas prospered, operating a series of restaurants and boarding houses in Riverside. Jukichi Harada and his wife Ken watched proudly as their seven children grew and worked and went to school and began families of their own. The realization of their dream was shattered in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor and the advent of World War II. With the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin Roosevelt, 120,000 Japanese Americans were dispossessed of property and stripped of their civil rights.

Their story is a California story and a truly American story. It is a saga of hardship and struggle to achieve the American promise of freedom, citizenship, and a better life. 



julia_murakami . Last modified Jul 09, 2010 12:13 p.m.

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