Radiolab – American Pendulum 1


Episode: Celia, A Slave: The True Crime Case that Rocked the American Slave Power

Series: Radiolab

Release Date: 10/2/2017
Producers: More Perfect

Episode Link:

Tags:  History, Race, Immigration, Internment, War, WW2, Racism, 1940s, 20th Century, Asian American history, Japan


Narrative/Microhistory This episode includes a lengthy interview with Fred Korematsu’s daughter and includes past recordings of him reflecting on his experience protesting Executive Order 6066 that forcibly removed all Japanese and Japanese Americans from the west coast during WW2.

Notes: Kera Lovell: I really like this episode because it is largely interviews with Fred Korematsu and his daughter, and includes some small details about his experience that otherwise get left out of his story. This episode was originally released on the show More Perfect, but I like this edited version of the episode on Radiolab better. What I also like about this episode is that it moves beyond the internment camps to discuss how the topic of internment was a source of shame for Japanese Americans after the war.

Fred Korematsu whose voice and story is featured in this podcast.

Assignment Ideas:

There are SO many resources on Japanese American internment, that possibilities for assignments are endless. Here are a couple.

1) Primary Source Analysis: Design an activity that has students put the podcast in conversation with some aspect of the Densho Archive, such as their vast collection (oral history interviews, articles, photos, etc.) on the exclusion orders:

2) Newspaper Article Analysis: Marjorie Backman and Michael Gonchar at the NY Times have compiled a list of class exercises that center NY Times coverage of internment, with articles linked:

3) Visual Analysis: Compare Korematsu’s experience with those like Mine Okubo who captured her experiences in internment as a graphic novel called Citizen 13660:

Potential Reflection Questions:

1) How did the experience of internment shape the emotions of those who were interned?

2) How has the history of talking about internment been shaped by those emotions?

This is a famous photo by Dorothea Lange of a pamphlet ordering the removal of Japanese and Japanese Americans as part of Executive Order 6066. See more photos in the Densho Digital Archives linked below.

Other Relevant Sources:

Wiki overview: Korematsu v. US Supreme Court case:

Densho Archive:

Supreme Court Case: Korematsu v. United States

Other primary sources: Mary Matsuda Gruenwald’s Looking Like the Enemy: and John Okada’s No-No Boy:

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