Nearly seventy years ago, 10,000 Japanse Americans were forcibly relocated to Heart Mountain, just outside Cody, Wyoming; they were part of a larger group of more than 120,000 men, women, and children incarcerated in War Relocation Authority (WRA) camps due solely to their ancestry. This past weekend, about 100 survivors of the camp -- led by the delightfully named Bacon Sakatini -- returned to this remote corner of Wyoming to celebrate the grand opening of the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center. Of the ten WRA camps, Heart Mountain had the only organized resisters movement, which was started in 1944 by seven men who formed the Fair Play Committee to protest the drafting of Japanse American men while their families remained imprisoned -- leading to the largest draft resistance trial in U.S. history.
When her Japanese-American husband was sent to internment camps in California and Wyoming, Estelle Peck Ishigo chose to accompany him. An art-school teacher fired for her interracial marriage, she documented the three-and-a-half-year ordeal in a short memoir and hundreds of sketches and paintings. [more inside]
"Dear Miss Breed..." the letters begin. Clara Estelle Breed was the children's librarian at the San Diego Public Library from 1929 to 1945. When her young Japanese American patrons and their families were forced into relocation camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1942, Miss Breed became their penpal and their lifeline, sending them books and supplies, assisting with various requests, and "serving as a reminder of the possibility for decency and justice in a troubled world." [more inside]
R.I.P. Fred Korematsu Fred Korematsu, who unsuccessfully fought Japanese American internment camps during World War II before finally winning in court nearly four decades later, has died. He was 86. Seattle Times...New York Times (reg. req'd)