Rev. Jesse Jackson and other civil rights leaders gathered in Berkeley on Sunday to inaugurate Fred Korematsu Day, the first U.S. holiday to be named after an Asian-American, reports the Sing Tao Daily.
Fred Korematsu was born in Oakland on Jan. 30, 1919. A Japanese-American welder who worked at a shipyard, Korematsu was 22 years old when he and his family were asked to move to an internment camp. Korematsu refused, and was arrested.

Even while he was in jail, Korematsu did not stop seeking justice. His case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the high court ruled against him in 1944, arguing that the camps were a matter of security.

Forty years later, historians used the U.S. government’s legal documents to prove that there was no evidence that Japanese-Americans had engaged in any activity that threatened American security during World War II. A federal judge in San Francisco overturned Korematsu’s conviction in 1983. In 1998, President Bill Clinton awarded Korematsu the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work fighting for civil rights. Korematsu died in 2005 at the age of 86.

His daughter, Karen Korematsu, said during the celebration in Berkeley that the holiday is meant not only to remember the unequal treatment her father faced, but also to honor his courage.