(This photo can be found HERE.)
Mr. Ansel Adams, a famous American photographer of the period, went to Manzanar War Relocation Center documenting what was happening there with the Japanese-Americans interned there in California. This young man was captured on film in his daily life in 1943. You can see the vast landscape behind him, making it known that camps were far away from any other civilization.
Topaz Internment Camp located in Utah, held 8,000 people when it was at large. In the camp there was an elementary school, a high school, administration buildings, warehouses and multiple other necessary buildings, such as latrines for men and women, were constructed within the 42-block area. The interned families lived in barracks on the rest of camp site. Designed as apartments, each fit families of two and four easily; some larger families were permitted to live in two rooms of the building. Each room was heated by a coal stove, but cooking in the apartments was discouraged. The only furniture they were given were army cots, mattresses, and blankets, although some families constructed a table out of scraps from the other constructions previously built.
Each family was given jobs in the camp, like doctors and other people with such skills. Those employed individuals were given a wage ranging from $16.00 to $19.00. Some were given passes to go to Delta, a nearby town, and found employment there. On January 29, 1943, President Roosevelt made a public announcement that Japanese-Americans were now allowed to volunteer for a combat unit. (This information can be found HERE.)
Miss Breed, a librarian in San Diego, was one of the many Americans against the internment camps. She got to know many of the children who were taken away to stay in the camps with their families. At the train station, before the kids got on, she handed out self addressed postcards and letters, encouraging them to write to her. The letters were just like any other letter you would write to a friend. They told of every day life; talking about classes, family, and extracurricular activities. The letters not only told of the injustice and punishment of living in an internment camp, but of life in the 1940's for the teens who had to make a life there.(One of such letters can be found HERE.)
Some of the younger kids played "Post Office" to entertain themselves. Writing letters to Miss Breed was probably one of the reasons they had the idea to play the game. (This photo can be found HERE.)
(This poem can be found HERE.)
The pictures to the left show the hardships children had to go through while trapped at the interment camps. Many children in the camps were separated from family members and left to survive on their own. Children attended schools, that were very poorly equipt and the schools usually didn't have insulation until well after the schools were opened. One student recalled learning a whole years worth of chemistry in one week.
This cartoon can be found here.
The cartoon to the left drawn in March 1942. The artists name was just Rodger. It appeared in the San Fransisco News March 6,1942. It represents the Japanese Americans being "shipped" off to Interment camps all over the country. To ensure American safety after the pearl harbor bombing anyone being affiliated to Japanese heritage was shipped off.
The owner of this grocery store was Japanese - American. He put up this banner the after the Pearl Harbor bombing. This picture taken ,by Dorothea Lange, in March 1942 right before he was taken to a camp. The words on the banner read "I am an American" probably strewn to show his national pride for his home country.
5. Who was the librarian who wrote to the interned children?
6. What made the fence so intimidating?
Children of the Camps. Satsuki Ina. 1999. Feb 28, 2008.