Ross M. Harano Papers
Scope and Contents
The Ross M. Harano Papers document his leadership and participation with the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and Alliance to End Repression (AER) on efforts in the 1970s and 1980s to repeal Title II of the Internal Security Act of 1950 and enact redress thought the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. The materials include committee meeting and planning materials and Congressional hearings and reports.
- 1942 - 2021
- Majority of material found within 1969 - 1988
- Harano, Ross (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
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Biographical / Historical
Ross M. Harano (1942-) was born in an “Assembly Center” in California’s Fresno County Fairgrounds during World War II. Following the 1942 bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japanese military forces, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 that forcibly removed Americans of Japanese ancestry from their homes. Approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated into ten internment camps, called “Assembly Centers” without a trial or judicial hearing. Harano’s family was later transferred to another camp in Jerome, Arkansas. Following the war, the Harano family settled in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. His family’s experience of internment led Harano to balance his business career with leadership roles in several civic organizations that addressed civil rights issues. These groups include the Illinois Ethnic Coalition, the Chicago Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the Illinois Humanities Council, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, and the Commission of Asian American Affairs for the City of Chicago.
In 1970, Harano represented the Chicago Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in its campaign to repeal the Cold War era Emergency Detention Act. Authorized by Title II of the Internal Security Act of 1950, the Emergency Detention Act included provisions where the U.S. President could declare an “internal security emergency” and defendants could be denied a judicial trial and not informed of the charges against them. After the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) issued a report in 1968 that suggested anti-Vietnam war protestors and Black activists deemed “militants” by the government could be placed in detention camps, the JACL feared the Emergency Detention Act could lead to a revival of American detention camps and focused their efforts on its repeal. From 1970-1977, Harano served as JACL’s representative with the Alliance to End Repression (AER), an organization created in 1970 with leaders from civil liberties, religious, peace and community organizations to consider the problem of repression of constitutional rights. In 1970, Harano was appointed as the JACL National Legislative Chairperson and actively coordinated the organization’s repeal efforts. On March 24, 1970, he appeared before the House Internal Security Committee and testified in favor of the pending repeal legislation. Congress passed the Repeal bill (HR234), on September 14, 1971.
In 1970, the National Council of JACL also adopted a resolution calling for redress and reparations for persons of Japanese ancestry who were incarcerated during World War II. After years of discussions and planning, the Federal Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians was established in 1980 to investigate the Japanese American interment. Hearings were held in several cities, including Chicago, and Japanese Americans had their first opportunities to testify about their wartime incarceration. In 1983, the Commission issued its report “Personal Justice Denied” that concluded Japanese Americans internment was not justified by military necessity and thus, a “grave injustice” was done to those interned. In January 1985, The Civil Liberties Act of 1985 was introduced in Congress to provide Redress and Reparations for the internees. The legislation was passed by Congress and signed into law on August 10, 1988 by President Ronald Reagan.
From 1983-1987, Harano served on the Asian American Advisory Committee that Mayor Harold Washington established by Executive Order 84-2 to advise on programs, policy and legislation relevant to Chicago’s growing Asian American population.
In 1992, Harano was the first Asian American to be appointed as an Illinois Elector for the Electoral College. His Democratic candidacy in 1994 for Board Trustee of the University of Illinois marks the first time an Asian American ran a statewide a statewide campaign for office in Illinois.
As a businessman, Harano spent 30 years helping private and public organizations in the areas of public policy, management and finance. These roles include Managing Director of the State of Illinois Trade Office; President of the World Trade Center Chicago; and concurrently, Equal Opportunity Officer, Director of Advisory Councils, and Chief of the Crime Victims Division for the Office of the Attorney General of Illinois.
Harano has received awards from the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the American Jewish Committee, the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, and the Illinois Ethnic Coalition.
He currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the international consulting consortium, Eureka International, LLC.
1.25 Linear Feet (in 4 boxes)
Language of Materials
The Ross M. Harano Papers document his leadership and participation with the Chicago Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and Alliance to End Repression (AER) on efforts in the 1970s and 1980s to repeal Title II of the Internal Security Act of 1950 and enact redress thought the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. The collection includes committee meeting and planning materials and Congressional hearings and reports.
The files retain Harano’s organization of alphabetical by organization and then by action, when an organization had more than one initiative. Harano’s organizational order has also been retained for the contents within the files.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Ross Harano, 2021
- Alliance to End Repression
- Asian Americans Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Chicago (Ill.). Police Department. Intelligence Section.
- Japanese American Citizens' League
- Japanese American Citizens' League. National Committee for Redress
- Race relations Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- United States Emergency Detention Act of 1950
- United States. Act to Implement Recommendations of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians
- United States. Civil Liberties Act Amendments of 1992
- United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities
- United States. Internal Security Act of 1950
- Guide to the Ross M. Harano Papers
- Michelle McCoy
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Special Collections Unit at Harold Washington Library Center Repository
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