Local History: Ina Sugihara Jones

Ina Sugihara Jones was a Japanese American activist and multi-coalition builder who lived in White Plains from 1977 to her death in 2004. She was born in Las Animas, Colorado in 1919, and moved with her family to Long Beach, California in the 1930s. Educated at Long Beach Community College and the University of California, Berkeley, she was able to “voluntarily” migrate to the East Coast in 1942 and avoid internment in the War Relocation Authority Camps set up after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

She was a founding member of the New York branch of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in 1943 and helped organize the New York branch of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in 1944. She believed, as she wrote in a 1946 article in the NAACP’s official magazine, The Crisis, “that the fate of each minority group depends upon the extent of justice given all other groups.” Read an op-ed and mini-bio she wrote for the Reporter Dispatch in 1984 here.

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