SEATTLE - The Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to Gordon Hirabayashi was presented to the University of Washington. Hirabayashi’s widow, Susan Carnahan, gave the medal to the university at an event Saturday.
The “Courage in Action: A Symposium on the Life and Legacy of Gordon K. Hirabayashi” was hosted by KING 5 anchor Lori Matsukawa.
Hirabayashi, a University of Washington alumnus, challenged the internment of Japanese-American citizens and lost in the U.S. Supreme Court during World War II. The decision was later reversed.
The medal will be added to a collection of Hirabayashi’s journals, letters, and legal papers donated by his family to the UW Libraries Special Collections. Many of the items are on display at the “Civil Disobedience!” exhibit in the Allen Library North Lobby.
In Japantown in Seattle’s International District, an affordable housing apartment building will be named after Hirabayashi. Construction is set to begin later this year, according to Interim Community Development Association. Acting executive director Andrea Akita said the 30 million dollar apartment project called Hirabayashi Place will be built at the corner of South Main Street and 4th Avenue
"We are really hoping this project will contribute to the revitalization not only of Japantown but also to the revitalization of the community," said Akita.
The new building will feature 96 apartments and isn’t expected to be complete until the end of 2015.
"The Hirabayashi Place is all about connecting our past, present, and our future," said Akita.
Hirabayashi died in 2012 at the age of 93.