June 6, 2017

ICYMI: Japanese-Americans’ internment ‘built on widespread racism’

Residents from Ontario and surrounding communities peruse an exhibit on Japanese-American internment during its opening night at Four Rivers Cultural Center's Harano Gallery. Photo credit: Hunter Morrow

An exhibit about the history of Japanese American internment in Oregon is making its way around the state, 75 years after white Oregonians pleaded with state officials to incarcerate their Asian neighbors. The exhibit, created by Graham Street Productions, includes a moving collection of internment camp blueprints, proclamations by then-Gov. Charles Sprague, and correspondence in favor and against the displacement of Japanese-Americans during the build up to U.S. intervention into World War II.

The Argus Observer reported about the opening of the analogue exhibit:

About 120,000 U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry were forcibly removed and imprisoned in America during the months after the Japanese Imperial Navy Air Service bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

The move to do so, according to a new exhibit on display through July 27 at Four Rivers Cultural Center’s Harano Gallery, was “built on widespread racism,” along with a “commonly held belief in supremacy of white people, pursuit of profit and exploitation of labor, resentment of Japanese-American success and a desire for political gain.”

The exhibit on display is aptly named Architecture of Internment: The Build Up to Wartime Incarceration.

The Regional Arts & Cultural Center helped fund the traveling exhibit, along with a $75,000 grant from Meyer. The grant was made through a fiscal sponsorship by Western States Center in 2016.

Read the whole story by The Argus Observer here.