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Tag: japanese internment

Tweet Up at the National Archives

On March 20, join us for a sneak peek at our new exhibit, “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures” before it opens to the public. Many of the documents have never been on display before.

A limited number of lucky folks will get a tour at 1:30 p.m. from curator Jennifer Johnson and a special opportunity to take pictures of the exhibit (photography is otherwise banned in our exhibit spaces).

You can also join us beforehand for a brown-bag lunch at noon with the curator and graphic designer, who will demo our new free eGuide as well as talk about how our curators choose from thousands of documents to create an exhibit.

We’ve got limited space, so register now!

Signatures are personal. The act of signing can be as simple as a routine mark on a form, or it can be a stroke that changes many lives. Signatures can be an act of defiance or a symbol of thanks and friendship. “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures” draws from the billions of government records at the National Archives to showcase a unique collection of signatures and tell the stories behind them.

See a patent created by Michael Jackson; a  loyalty oath signed by a Japanese American inside an internment camp; a 1938 letter from a Jewish tailor who wrote to President Roosevelt pleading for an escape from … [ Read all ]

The draft dodgers of 1944

Behind the barbed wire of the Japanese internment camp at Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming, a few men received their orders to report for duty. It was 1944, and they had been drafted.

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States feared follow-on attacks would be conducted by persons of Japanese descent living within its borders. FDR issued Executive Order 9066, ordering the military to relocate Japanese descendants into camps. Barely a month later, Congress passed Public Law 503 supporting the order. Over 120,000 people were removed from their homes to remote relocation camps. Two-thirds of them were American citizens.

While the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 was quick to make nisei—U.S. citizens of Japanese descent—ineligible for service, by 1944 the war machine was turning at such a pace that nisei were again made eligible, despite the fact they were currently being held in internment camps against their will.

At the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming, two men decided to protest.

Kiyoshi Okamoto had founded the Fair Play Committee, a group dedicated to supporting the Constitutional rights of interned nisei. Frank Emi led the group, which had hundreds of followers in the camp, and found its battleground in the draft: members of the FPC would refuse to serve until the status of their citizenship had been … [ Read all ]