Anti-Discrimination Committee, JACL


Lobbying arm of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) set up in 1946 to spearhead the organization's legislative and legal efforts to attack discrimination against Japanese Americans and other minorities. The JACL set up the Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) as a separate organization to protect its tax status due to changes in federal laws regulating lobbyists.

The ADC was incorporated in the state of Utah on July 9, 1946, with then JACL President Hito Okada as chairman and many other JACL leaders in executive positions. Mike Masaoka, the league's wartime executive secretary, became the new organization's national legislative director, and his wife, Etsu Mineta Masaoka also joined the staff as a secretary. The Masaokas moved to Washington, DC, in 1947 and set up an office there. Mike set to work on a list of priorities established at the 1946 JACL convention that included seeking some form of "evacuation claims" and naturalization rights for the Issei. Masaoka kept JACL members and the public informed of their activities through a regular "Letter from Washington" column in the organization's Pacific Citizen newspaper.

As its scope of activities grew, its staff ballooned to twenty-six by 1950 and it sought to raise money nationally through a network of local ADCs.[1] Significantly, ADC membership and support targeted Issei as well as Nisei—the JACL specifically excluded Issei from membership—with Issei citizenship the carrot for seeking their support.[2] The ADC's activities culminated with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1952, a controversial measure that ended the ban on Issei naturalization but retained racist immigration quotas and included anti-Communist measures that many found troubling. After passage of this measure in 1952, Masaoka resigned to become a private lobbyist, and the ADC ceased its operations. The JACL published a celebratory final report for the ADC in the 1954 holiday edition of the Pacific Citizen.

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

For More Information

Final A.D.C. Report, 1946–1952. Pacific Citizen, December 17, 1954, section C. http://www.pacificcitizen.org/digitalarchives/assets/pdf/19541217.pdf.

Hegwood, Robert Alan. "Erasing the Space Between Japanese and American: Progressivism, Nationalism, and Japanese American Resettlement in Portland, Oregon, 1945—1948." M.A. thesis, Portland State University, 2011.

Wu, Ellen. The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014.

Footnotes

  1. Larry Tajiri, The Record Speaks, Scene, March 1950, reprinted in Larry Tajiri and Guyo Tajiri, Pacific Citizens: Larry and Guyo Tajiri and Japanese American Journalism in the World War II Era, edited, with an introduction and notes by Greg Robinson (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012), 213.
  2. Mike Masaoka and Bill Hosokawa, They Call Me Moses Masaoka (New York: William Morrow, 1987), 221; Robert Alan Hegwood, "Erasing the Space Between Japanese and American: Progressivism, Nationalism, and Japanese American Resettlement in Portland, Oregon, 1945—1948," M.A. thesis, Portland State University, 2011, 120.