ON THIS DAY: September 12

ON THIS DAY: September 12

ON THIS DAY IN TEENAGE HISTORY (1944), nineteen-year-old Esther Takei, recent resident of a Japanese internment camp in Amache, Colorado, enrolled at Pasadena Junior College. Takei had been one of an estimated 120,000 Japanese Americans relocated to internment camps two months after the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. Two members of a group called Friends of the American Way arranged for Takei to leave the Colorado camp and enter the junior college in southern California, which upset some people. One man started a “Ban the Japs” group on learning that Takei was attending the college and an elderly woman spat at her at a bus stop, Four months after starting college, Takei was reunited with her family as Japanese-American internment ended. In 2010 she received an honorary degree from Pasadena Community College (above). The graduating class give her a standing ovation.

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