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100 Montgomery St

100 Montgomery Street

San Francisco, CA 94129

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Who stands up? For many Japanese Americans whose WWII destiny was altered by his righteous indignation, Wayne Collins is remembered as a “hero” and fiery advocate, the lone lawyer to stand up for their rights. Joining in conversation on what it takes to be a rebel are his son Wayne Merrill Collins, historian/author Charles Wollenberg, and psychologist Satsuki Ina, whose father was imprisoned in Department of Justice camps and whose citizenship was restored through Collins’ efforts. In what ways, did allyship serve to shift the negative current?


Rebel Lawyer: Wayne Collins and the Defense of Japanese American Rights by Charles Wollenberg presents the key cases pertaining to the World War II incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry and the trial attorney who defended them. For Fred Korematsu, Iva Toguri (alias Tokyo Rose), Japanese Peruvians imprisoned in the United States, and five thousand Americans who renounced their citizenship under duress, Wayne Collins made a somewhat unlikely hero. An Irish American lawyer with a volatile temper, Collins’ passionate commitment to the nation’s constitutional principles put him in opposition not only to the United States government but also groups that acquiesced to internment such as the national office of the ACLU and the leadership of the Japanese American Citizens League. Through careful research and legal analysis, Charles Wollenberg takes readers through each case and offers an understanding of how Collins came to be the most effective defender of the rights and liberties of the West Coast’s Japanese and Japanese American population.

Charles Wollenberg, author of Rebel Lawyer: Wayne Collins and the Defense of Japanese American Rights (Heyday, 2018), is the former Chair of Social Sciences and Professor of History at Berkeley City College. He is co-editor with Marcia A. Eymann of What’s Going On? California and the Vietnam Era (University of California Press, 2004) and author of Marinship at War: Shipbuilding and Social Change in Wartime Sausalito (Western Heritage, 1990) and Berkeley: A City in History (University of California Press, 2008).

Wayne Merrill Collins is a personal injury lawyer, scholar and educator. When his father passed away, he took over many of the cases his father was working on at the time.

Satsuki Ina, born in the Tule Lake Segregation Center, will serve as moderator. Through the efforts of Wayne Collins, her parents’ citizenship was returned to them in 1957.



This program is held in conjunction with Then They Came For Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties, a special multimedia exhibition featuring imagery by noted photographers commissioned by the U.S. government's War Relocation Authority, including Dorothea Lange and Clem Albers, along with photographers Ansel Adams, Toyo Miyatake and Paul Kitagaki, Jr., as well as a range of artifacts from the period.


Gallery Hours: Wed-Sun, 10 am to 6 pm, FREE and open to the public. www.thentheycame.org

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San Francisco, CA 94129

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