Camp Experiences

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Yeah, we learned about the camp experience through books for example, “American’s Concentration Camps.” Learning about our own history for the first time in college was eye opening experience for many of us and it peaked our interested. We asked more questions. So we wanted to see, you know, we wanted to talk to the people who were in camps, so basically for most of us, our parents and grandparents. We wanted to see the places they went to so there were pilgrimages to Manzanar and other places, that that you know began happening in that period.

Within a few years, a lot of us were teaching ethnic studies to other people I mean. We didn’t have credentials. We didn’t have degrees. We didn’t have books. But we would, you know we would, accumulate whatever information we could. We would invite Niseis. We invited Filippino labor activists. We invited people from Chinatown, the old-timers to speak about their experiences. And that’s how we learned in the earlier period.

Date: September 29, 2011
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Kris Kuromitsu, John Esaki
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Asian American Movement concentration camps identity Manzanar pilgrimage

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