The incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II represents a dark chapter in the history of the United States. By order of the President, the federal government forced over 100,000 Americans and their immigrant family members from their homes; it confined them in camps for the duration of the war.
This chapter in American history tells us many stories. It reveals to us how fragile our constitutional liberties are, especially when our nation is at war. It shows us the resiliency of communities that endured internment. It shows the dignity and patriotism of immigrants and their American families. It exposes the dangerous consequences of suspicion based on race and nationality. And it offers hope that we all might overcome our history by learning from it.
Indeed, the history of internment poses challenges even today. How could evacuation and incarceration happen in the United States? What powers should we grant the government to protect us during war? When do immigrants and their native-born children count as “American”? Could something like internment happen again?
Exhibit Curated by Claire Meskers (class of 2014) and Angie Piccolo (class of 2015) with Veta Schlimgen (Assistant Professor, History Department)
This exhibit is a collaborative project between the History Department and University Archives and Special Collections, Foley Library.
For her support, patience, and direction, we specially thank Stephanie Plowman (Archivist, Foley Library)
For their assistance and insights, we thank:
~Steve Bingo (Processing Archivist, Washington State University)
~Betsy Downey (Professor, History Department)
~Janet Hauck (Archivist, Whitworth University)
~Anne Jenner (Archivist, University of Washington)
~Rose Krause (Archivist, Museum of Arts and Culture)
~Ann Ostendorf (Assistant Professor, History Department)
~Fred Shiosaki (Spokane Valley resident and World War II veteran)
~Joanne Shiosaki (Gonzaga University)
~Janice and Margaret Ueda (Gonzaga University)