I Remember: Japanese Incarceration During WWII
“Congress recognizes that...a grave injustice was done to both citizens and permanent resident aliens of Japanese ancestry by the evacuation, relocation, and internment of civilians during World War II....these actions were carried out without adequate security reasons and without any acts of espionage or sabotage, and were motivated largely by racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a failure of political leadership."
-- Excerpt from Public Law 100-383, Wartime Relocation of Civilians.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, many Americans and indeed the federal government characterized the Japanese and Japanese American populations as dangerous enemies. In response to this infamous day, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. This reactionary law authorized the evacuation of people with Japanese ancestry from the west coast to military zones in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. Imposing watch towers, rows of barracks, and barbed wire fences that separated Americans from seemingly desolate landscapes beyond characterized Japanese internment camps where more than 127,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry were imprisoned until 1945.
This Media Resource introduces students to first-hand accounts of the history of Japanese American incarceration camps during WWII. Guiding questions, video interviews, and other digital materials offer insight into what life in a camp was like and prompts for further research on the lasting significance of this era of U.S. history. The full playlist of video interviews with Sam Mihara is also available at the NEH Youtube page.