Internment of Japanese Americans was all too real, and it’s a shameful part of American history that we all should know more about.  Yeah, I’ve been posting a lot about this, the intentional and orchestrated buildup of hate and racism leading to Executive Order 9066.  I knew about it before I went, but actually being there, it hit home in a profound way that isn’t captured by words, particularly when we’re seeing a similar intentional and orchestrated buildup of hate and racism today.

Manzanar National Historical Site

This is the original large hall build by prisoners.  It became the focal point of the camp, a gathering spot, even a theater and dance hall — attempts to have some semblance of “normal” life, though captive.

How to research family specifics?  Here’s a page from the National Park Service on how to research families held in internment camps across the US:

Manzanar-Researching National Archives

The arguments for internment were not rational, and evidence presented to Pres. Roosevelt in reports he requested to assess threat to US of Japanese Americans found uniformly that there was no threat.  Those reports of “no threat” were turned around with this statement below, turned around, much like today where the recent terroristic events were NOT from the 7 countries of tRump’s Muslim Ban:

Really… “The very fact that no sabotage has taken place to date is a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken.”  WHAT?!?!?!

On a large wall, from the high ceiling to the floor, there’s a long, long list of families interred, a graphic image of the broad impact, looking up to the top is dizzying:

And notebooks listing the families, information about them, and where they went when they left:

There’s a oral history project ongoing, and the National Park Service is collecting this history through interviews, sharing documents, family items, to convey the experience of internment and preserve it to help us learn about our country.  Here’s a booklet with information on participating in this project:

Manzanar-Oral History & ID Booklet

It took over 40 years for the U.S. to admit this grievous wrong, apologize and offer modest reparations.  An NPR report:

From Wrong To Right: A U.S. Apology For Japanese Internment

Now, rather than do this all over again, rather than be wrong, wrong, wrong, let’s just get it right from the start and rescind the Muslim ban (Executive Order 13769).