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DEADLINE TO APPLY 2016 Fred T. Korematsu Summer Fellowship
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When: 2/16/2016

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2016 Fred T. Korematsu Summer Fellowship

Instructions & Application for Law Students and Host Organizations

Deadline: February 5, 2016


The Fred T. Korematsu Summer Fellowship will provide a $6000 scholarship for one law student to gain meaningful legal experience at a public interest host organization. The Fellowship is open to all rising 1L and 2L law students at any qualified host organization in the United States.


The objective of the program is to:

  • Perpetuate the memory of Fred T. Korematsu’s impact on civil rights arising from his principled opposition to the Japanese American incarceration during WWII;
  • Undertake projects that further the cause of civil rights, whether in the United States or elsewhere;
  • Provide work experiences for law students that prepares them for careers in furtherance of civil rights;
  • To have a lasting impact on the security of civil rights; and
  • Inspire future lawyers to aspire to ensure that civil rights are accorded to all.


Fred T. Korematsu was a national civil rights hero. In 1942, at the age of 23, he refused to go to the government’s incarceration camps for Japanese Americans. After he 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.


In 1983, Prof. Peter Irons, a legal historian, together with researcher Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, discovered key documents that government intelligence agencies had hidden from the Supreme Court in 1944. The documents consistently showed that Japanese Americans had committed no acts of treason to justify mass incarceration. With this new evidence, a pro-bono coram nobis legal team re-opened Korematsu’s 40-year-old case on the basis of government misconduct. On November 10, 1983, Korematsu’s conviction was overturned in a federal court in San Francisco. It was a pivotal moment in civil rights history.


Korematsu remained an activist throughout his life. In 1998, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Bill Clinton. In 2010, the state of California passed the Fred Korematsu Day bill, making January 30 the first day in the US named after an Asian American. Korematsu’s growing legacy continues to inspire people of all backgrounds and demonstrates the importance of speaking up to fight injustice.


Established by a generous gift from Parkin Lee and The Rockefeller Group, the NAPABA Law Foundation in partnership with the Fred T. Korematsu Institute have launched the Fred T. Korematsu Summer Fellowship program. The Fellowship is administered through the NAPABA Law Foundation, which is a charitable organization that awards fellowships, scholarships, runs educational programs and the Thomas Tang National Moot Court Competition.


Fellowship Candidate and Host Eligibility/Criteria


  • Candidates must be rising 1L or 2L law student. Candidates should have a history of civil rights activism, interest in pursuing a civil rights career, strong academics and, like Fred T. Korematsu, strength of character and moral commitment.
  • Candidates must identify a public interest Host Organization that will provide him/her with a summer position if a Fellowship is received. Candidates that have already accepted a summer position at a Host Organization are eligible to apply.
  • Host Organizations are public interest organizations that agree to host the Fred T. Korematsu Fellow for 10 weeks during Summer 2016. They must also provide him/her with supervision, a workspace, and the materials that he/she will need to complete their project.
  • Together with his/her Host Organization, the Candidate and Host Organization must create a fellowship project proposal consistent with the objectives of the Fred T. Korematsu Summer Fellowship program.  The proposal should identify a specific project that can be undertaken over the course of the summer fellowship that would support individual civil rights, in the United States or elsewhere.  The Selection Committee will be open-minded with respect to the types of issues addressed, and the type of work to be undertaken, as long as the focus is on civil rights.  Project proposal shall not exceed two pages.
  • Candidates must submit a statement outlining their interest in becoming a Fred T. Korematsu Fellow. Statements shall not exceed two pages.



  • The Fred T. Korematsu Summer Fellow will receive a $6000 scholarship, disbursed in two equal payments. The first payment of $3000 will occur at the completion of 5 weeks; the second payment will be disbursed upon the completion of the proposed project via written report at the conclusion of the 10-week fellowship.  
  • The selected Fellow shall work at the host organization for a minimum of 40 hours a week for 10 weeks during Summer 2016. The Fellow shall be identified as the “Fred T. Korematsu Summer Fellow” at the Host Organization.
  • A representative from NAPABA Law Foundation will check-in with the Fred T. Korematsu Fellow on a regular basis to monitor progress and provide assistance as necessary.


Time Frame


February 5, 2016

Application deadline

February 15 – March 4, 2016

Candidate interviews

On or about March 18, 2016

Fred T. Korematsu Fellowship chosen

Summer 2016 (10 weeks)

Fellowship begins at host organization