1942 April 7

What Do We Do With the Japanese American Evacuees?

 

At a conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, on this day, officials of the War Relocation Authority and the governors and other officials of nine western and mountain states debated what to do with the Japanese Americans, who were being forcibly evacuated from the West Coast. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 (February 19, 1942) mentioned only evacuation and said nothing about what would happen to the evacuees.

State officials strongly objected to having evacuees in their states. As a result, the decision was made to create a network of Relocation Centers, which have been more properly characterized as concentration camps. (A New York Times article on the conference referred to the “voluntary movement” of Japanese-Americans.)

Read a first-hand account of the evacuation and internment: Jeanne Wakatsuki Huston and James D. Houston, Farewell to Manzanar (2002)

Watch an interview with Jeanne Wakatsuki Huston: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDDFw5TGkJo

Read: Greg Robinson, By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans (2001)

View Dorothea Lange’s Internment Camp Photographs: http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist/lange.html

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