I have been trying to reorganize some of my Cal sports memorabilia so that things are stored more safely. I've been going through boxes, pulling out stuff and putting it between acid-free paper, that sort of thing. Yesterday I came across an issue of the Alumni Association magazine, California Monthly, from November 1941:
On the cover is Cal player Walter Gordon, Jr. (#98), defending against a Santa Clara player. Gordon was the son of the Cal football great and all-round American hero, Walter Gordon, who was both Cal's first All American and first African American player in the Andy Smith days, and then an assistant coach at Cal, a lawyer, governor of the Virgin Islands, and a federal judge. But, I digress.
I think my dad had this issue of California Monthly because there was a blurb in it about his cousin, Jim Jurkovich, who was a Cal football player and a recipient of an Alumni Scholarship (which the magazine informs us, in 1941 averaged $221 each to 77 students!). Here's cousin Jim's photo:
It's actually a pretty darn good little magazine. There is an article about the history of football, in honor of the upcoming Big Game, and an article about sports injuries and the state-of-the-art techniques used by sports trainers. There are several articles about the wars in Europe and Asia, in which the United States would suddenly become involved the very next month. History professor Robert Kerner offers his analysis of what foreign policy America should be pursuing. There is a story by a Cal senior about a trip to China, then suffering under Japanese invasion. Professor David Barrows predicts that the Russians will soon be defeated by the Germans, and discusses what the United States should do to help ensure the survival of Britain and its Empire -- after the British "recognize the accomplishment of German hegemony over Europe and make terms." There is an interesting article about the history of American poetry, and one about a device developed by Cal scientists nicknamed "the Galloping Bakery," which used heat and centrifugal force to test the stresses on a new material known as "plastic."
The November 1941 issue is filled with announcements of class reunions coinciding with the Big Game, including the Class of '91 looking forward to its 50th. There is even a report about the two surviving members of the Class of '77. And based on the ads, the demographics of California Monthly's readership were skewed toward this age group:
But the best thing by far in the November 1941 issue of California Monthly is the editorial comment by its editor, Robert Sibley, '03. Under the headline "Japanese Alumni," Sibley wrote this on behalf of the California Alumni Association:
We think it proper at this time to go squarely on the record concerning alumni of the University of California who are of Japanese origin but full-fledged American citizens. No finer group of this University exists than our Japanese alumni who have for years participated in activities of the Alumni Association initiated on behalf of the University. They have subscribed a substantial amount to its financial endowment by taking out life memberships, thus helping to make it the largest fund of its kind. Many of these alumni have entered our armed forces and reports indicate that they are making excellent soldiers. Officers of the U.S. Army in Hawaii bear emphatic testimony to this effect. Fellow soldiers speak well of them.
Doubtless, should tension increase further, suspicion might be cast on some of our Japanese citizens just as suspicion has been cast on citizens of European origin. Let us not forget that our American born Japanese alumni have the same rights and privileges as we have by birthright and by loyalties they have maintained. They have shown throughout the years faithful and loyal service and devotion to our University ideals. We owe it to them to foster among the people of California, generally, a popular attitude that will assure to them security, personal dignity, and a livelihood.
I was frankly astonished to read such a prescient editorial, which so strongly supported the rights of Japanese Americans, coming from the Cal Alumni Association. I would not have expected them to have the intestinal fortitude to get involved in that kind of controversy. Sadly, as we know, the hopes expressed in this editorial were not fulfilled. Americans of Japanese descent were treated as enemies during the war, and were sent to concentration camps -- actions in which a Cal alumnus, California Attorney General Earl Warren, was heavily involved. But it is certainly impressive that the CAA took such a forceful position in favor of civil rights for Japanese Americans at the time. So: Hooray for the California Alumni Association!