May 9, 1942: These California farm families are preparing to evacuate to internment camps, as documented by photographer Dorothea Lange.
Centerville, California. Farm families of Japanese ancestry awaiting the evacuation buses which will take them to the Tanforan Assembly center along with 595 others evacuated from this district under Civilian Exclusion Order Number 34. 05/09/1942
Dorothea Lange, photographer. From the Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority
May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. You can find our past posts on Japanese American Internment & Relocation under the #Japanese American Internment tag.
“Tule Lake Relocation Center, Newell, California. Construction of this War Relocation Authority center has commenced. Approximately 10,000 evacuees of Japanese ancestry will be housed here for the duration.” 4/23/1942
Clem Albers, photographer. From the Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority.
On Wednesday, February 27, at noon, author Eric L. Muller will discuss his book “Colors of Confinement.”
This program will also be streamed live over the National Archives UStream channel.
In 1942, Bill Manbo and his family were forced from their Hollywood home into an internment camp at Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Using Kodachrome film, Manbo captured community celebrations and recorded his family’s struggle to maintain a normal life. Eric L. Muller uses these photos to describe Japanese American life in the camps.
The program will be held in the McGowan Theater at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. The program is FREE. A book signing will follow the program.
Did you know that the National Archives is on Pinterest? In honor of Superbowl Sunday, we’ve created two pinboards with lots of great photos!
Check out “Watching the Big Game” for historical football pictures from our holdings. And then explore “Presidents and the Pigskin” for some fun images from Our Presidents.
Image: Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Heart Mountain, Wyoming. An exciting bit of aciton between the “All Stars” and “Jack Rabbits” football teams, during a game at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center. At the moment it is difficult to say who has the ball.(National Archives, Record Group 210, ARC 539463)
Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Members of the staff and volunteer helpers reassemble a privately owned Japanese typewriter to be used for the Japanese languge edition of the Heart Mountain Sentinel, Center newspaper. The paper is wrapped around the rubber cylinder, the typist pushes the roller riding platten over the bed of type. After picking the next character, a lever is operated which picks up the type, presses it against the paper and replaces it in its niche. Complicated in appearance and operation, due to the short hand characteristics of Japanese writing, the advance of thought is nearly equal in speed to a standard English typewriter. 1/13/1943
Tom Parker, photographer. From the Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority
Tule Lake Relocation Center, Newell, California. A fashion show was one of the many exhibits held at this relocation center on labor day. Great skill was shown in dressmaking and tailoring, and was thoroughly appreciated by the large audience which witnessed this display. 09/07/1942
Francis Stewart, Photographer, War Relocation Authority
Today in history, The Japanese-American Internment Compensation Bill is Signed by President Ronald Reagan.
In 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which was used almost exclusively to intern Americans of Japanese descent. By 1943, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans had been forced from their homes and moved to camps.
Forty-six years later, on August 10, 1988, President Reagan signed the Japanese-American Internment Compensation Bill. The bill acknowledged the injustice of the internment, apologized for it, and provided a $20,000 cash payment to each person who was interned.
Pictured above: First-grade children of Japanese ancestry during flag pledge ceremony at a public school in San Francisco prior to internment. 4/20/42
Below: President Reagan signs the Reparations Bill for Japanese-Americans in the Old Executive Office Building. 8/10/88
Dated July 17, 1943, a letter from Henry Nishizu, at the time a resident of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming. Posted by our colleagues at the National Archives at Riverside during May’s observance of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.
Idle Farm Equipment of Japanese Internees
While Japanese-Americans were held in internment during World War II, much of their property stayed behind. To aid in food production, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) War Board decided to make much of the idle farming equipment in California available for public sale. The internee would be reimbursed at what the USDA War Board deemed to be fair market value. In this letter, Henry H. Nishizu declines the Board’s request to sell his equipment, stating that he had already committed the use of the farming machines to friends. He then writes,
“As an American, I do not feel right by remaining here in the center at the cost of the tax-payers money. When our government is helping us to relocate and thus actively become engaged in helping the shortage of man-power, I feel Relocation Center is now place for loyal Americans to stay and do nothing.”
The letter is part of a series of case files related to the Idle Farming Equipment of Japanese Internees, created by the Orange County, CA USDA War Board from 1941-1948. The records are held at the National Archives at Riverside.
Observing Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
To pay tribute to the many generations of Asian-Pacific Americans that have enriched our nation’s history, the National Archives at Riverside will be highlighting some of our holdings relating to Asian American history in our region (Southern California, Arizona, and Clark County, NV), including records relating to enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Act, records relating to Japanese internment and relocation, and many more.
For more information about Asian-Pacific Heritage Month, see http://asianpacificheritage.gov/
Closing of the Jerome Relocation Center, Denson, Arkansas. A typical truck load of Jerome residents waiting to be put on the train for transfer to the Gila River Center. 06/13/1944
Charles E. Mace, photographer. From the Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority
In 1942, the Jerome Relocation Center was the last camp to be opened and it was the first to be closed on June 30, 1944.
Tap, Ball Tap, Hop, Shuffle, Tap!
National Tap Dance Day is celebrated every year on May 25th, which is the birthday of American Tap Dancer and actor, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.
Poston, Arizona. A young evacuee of Japanese ancestry entertains her fellow evacuees with a demonstration of her tap dancing ability. This was one number in an outdoor musical show.
Francis Stewart, photographer. From the Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority
Florin, California. Two of the nine American soldiers of Japanese ancestry who have returned to their home town on furloughs that were granted to them in order that they could assist their families prepare for evacuation of all persons of Japanese ancestry from their west coast homes. This community is depending on their returned service men for many errands, shopping, banking, etc., because the soldiers are permitted to travel into town, nine miles away, while others cannot because of military restrictions. 05/10/1942
San Francisco, California. The family unit in kept intact in various phases of evacuation of persons of Japanese ancestry. …A view at Wartime Civil Control Administration station, 2020 Van Ness Avenue, on April 6, 1942, when first group of 664 was evacuated from San Francisco. The family unit likewise is preserved in War Relocation Authority centers where evacuees will spend the duration.
This photo of Japanese-American evacuees was taken by Dorothea Lange on April 6, 1942. Professional photographers such as Lange were commissioned by the WRA to document the daily life and treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
Issued by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, this order authorized the evacuation of all persons deemed a threat to national security from the West Coast to relocation centers further inland. In the next 6 months, over 100,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry were moved to assembly centers. They were then evacuated to and confined in isolated, fenced, and guarded relocation centers, known as internment camps.
The U.S. Government would eventually be compelled to compensate surviving internees for their treatment in 1988.
Executive Order 9066 dated February 19, 1942, in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt Authorizes the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas, 02/19/1942
Read more at Our Documents
This photo of Japanese-American evacuees was taken by Charles E Mace on December 31, 1944.
Topaz, Utah. Evacuees celebrate New Year’s Eve. Japanese Americans at Central Utah Relocation Center, 12/31/1944
Under the authority of Executive Order 9066, issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, approximately 110,000 Japanese-Americans were interned in 10 relocation centers for the duration of World War II. Professional photographers, including Dorothea Lange, were commissioned by the WRA to document the daily life and treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
The Granada War Relocation Center Closes
October 15, 1945 marked the closing date of the Granada Project, the first of the War Relocation Authority centers to be closed. Under the authority of Executive Order 9066, issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, approximately 110,000 Japanese-Americans were interned in 10 relocation centers for the duration of World War II.
On August 10, 1988, survivors of civilian relocation camps were granted restitution payments by the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.