In 1942, the United States government ordered more than 110,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry to leave their homes, and detained them in remote, military-style camps. Two-thirds of them were born in America. Not one was convicted of espionage or sabotage.
Life after Manzanar is a compelling account of this relatively unexamined period, known as the “Resettlement,” and examines the very different directions that these innocent people’s lives went after the war.
Given twenty-five dollars and a one-way bus ticket to make a new life, some ventured east to Denver and Chicago to start over, while others returned to Southern California only to face discrimination and an alarming scarcity of housing and jobs. Hirahara and Lindquist weave new and archival oral histories into an engaging narrative that illuminates the lives of former internees in the postwar era, both in struggle and unlikely triumph.
Readers will appreciate the painstaking efforts that rebuilding required, and will feel inspired by the activism that led to redress and restitution—and that built a community that even now speaks out against other racist agendas.
This April 28th marked the 49th annual pilgrimage to one of ten former prison camps, Manzanar National Historic Site in Southern California, where Naomi and Heather spoke about the dozens of survivors profiled in their book.
The book has extraordinary relevance with contemporary conversations surrounding race, immigration and social justice in the United States, and we could not be more proud to promote such a powerful and important project.
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