Harada House is a National Historic Landmark. This designation is assigned by the Secretary of the Interior to nationally significant historic places because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.
Harada House represents a significant event in our State and Nation’s history. In 1915-17, Riverside became the stage for a challenge to the Alien Land Law when Jukichi Harada, a Japanese immigrant bought a home in downtown Riverside in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood, in his children’s names. His new neighbors resisted his presence, first by trying to buy him out and then by taking him to court. By mid-1916 California vs. Harada had gained national and international attention due to the sensitive relationship between the United States and the emerging international power of Japan. In the fall of 1918, Judge Hugh Craig of Riverside Superior Court upheld the Alien Land Law but ruled that American born children of aliens were entitled to all the constitutional guarantees of citizenship including land tenure under the 14th Amendment.
As a nation which was built on immigrants, this story showcases the restrictive and unequal laws that were enacted in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries—laws that separated children from parents, restricted target groups from the freedoms of this great country, and reserved human rights to select demographics.
Because of Harada House, Riverside and the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, steward of Harada House, have a highly unusual opportunity that 99% of American museums will never have: the potential to take on regional, State-wide, and national claim to fame. The House and its story allows the Museum to powerfully interpret American’s past struggles as a nation of immigrants, and to thereby shed light on our current and future struggles with these same issues.
Not only is the story of Harada House significant, but its location is critical to the story. We cannot move it, or replicate it and have the same impact. The story and the lessons need to be told in context. To this end, we need to share the Harada significance.
Additionally, in order to present Harada House as it needs to be shared, we need to raise quite a large number of dollars. Every dollar counts and is appreciated. You can make donations, either through the RMA for the Harada Stewardship or through the Museum Harada Trust to maintain and preserve Harada House and to develop a top-notch interpretation center in which to pass on the significance of this story. Both the RMA web page and the Museum web page give specific details on donation options.