Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Library Hosts University Exhibit on Internment of Japanese Americans

The Museum of History and Holocaust Education at Kennesaw State University will host “The Tragedy of War: Japanese American Internment” at the Post Road Library, February 7 – 28. The exhibit will be available to the public during normal library operating hours.

“The Museum develops traveling exhibits like this one to provide context for some of the more complex stories of World War II,” explains Program Manager Laura Bradley. “Last year, we partnered with the Museum to display an exhibit called ‘Beyond Rosie: Women in World War II.’ This year, the exhibit will focus on the internment of Japanese Americans.”

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt commissioned an investigation of Japanese Americans living in Hawaii and on the west coast. Authorities feared that Japanese residents were disloyal and might aid in a Japanese invasion of the United States

President Roosevelt learned from a report submitted in November 1941 that there was no “Japanese problem” and that Japanese Americans were remarkably loyal to the United States. Still, with the support of Congress and the Supreme Court, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 in February 1942, authorizing the forced removal of approximately 120,000 ethnic Japanese from their homes, businesses, and communities.

They were forced into a series of camps to live under armed guard. About two-thirds of those forced into the internment camps were American citizens.

Japanese Americans contested these charges of disloyalty throughout the war and later sought formal redress. In 1983, a bipartisan congressional committee concluded that confinement was based on war hysteria, failure of government and military leadership, and racism against those of Japanese ancestry.

"The Tragedy of War" revisits the injustice of Japanese-American confinement by telling their stories and asking questions that resonate today.

A study guide is available online for students in grades 9 through 12 to explore and think critically about the exhibit.