Dale Minami is a lawyer who has defended the civil rights of the Asian Americans and other minorities.
His parents and his then one-year-old brother were one of 120,000 Japanese Americans the U.S. government incarcerated during the World War II.
Dale was born in California and grew up to become a lawyer. He led a landmark civil rights lawsuit that overturned a 40-year-old conviction for Fred Korematsu, who refused to go to the government’s incarceration camps for Japanese Americans.
After Fred Korematsu was arrested and convicted of defying the government’s order, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1944, the Supreme Court ruled against him, arguing that the incarceration was justified due to military necessity.
40 years later, Dale led the charge to overturn Fred Korematsu’s conviction after finding evidences of possible governmental misconduct. In 1983, a federal judge overturned Fred Korematsu’s conviction in the same San Francisco courtroom where he had been convicted in 1944. It was a significant moment in civil rights history.
Dale gave Japanese-Americans and his parents a fair trial that they never had.
Dale has also co-founded Asian Law Caucus, the first nonprofit to help poor Asian-Americans with legal problems.
He has always tried to boost the image of Asian Americans, and not just in the courtrooms. He produced two films, “Drinking Tea” and “Life Tastes Good” with all Asian American actors. Both films screened at the Sundance Film Festival.
When Dale was in his 50s, People Magazine named him as one of America’s Top 50 Bachelors.
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