Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day of Remembrance Broadcast: Densho Interviews on C-SPAN

C-SPAN's American History channel will start to broadcast selected Densho video interviews on February 19, the Day of Remembrance that commemorates the signing of Executive Order 9066 in 1942. That presidential decree authorized the removal and detention of 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes and businesses solely on the basis of ancestry.

The first interview to be broadcast is with Norman Mineta, former cabinet member of the Bush and Clinton administrations and a longtime California congressman. Densho's Tom Ikeda interviewed Secretary Mineta about his role in helping to pass the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, the redress bill that so many people fought long and hard for.

Visit the C-SPAN webpage for schedule and more information.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Archive Spotlight: Asian American Activist for All

Densho recently interviewed the celebrated civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama, who has devoted her life to promoting equal rights for all races and oppressed people. As a girl, she described herself as being completely ignorant of American history, not even knowing about slavery in the United States. Her education in discrimination against others besides Japanese Americans began when she left the Jerome, Arkansas, incarceration camp to work in Mississippi. In an excerpt from her interview, Kochiyama describes meeting Malcolm X in 1963 in Harlem, where she was working with various social justice groups.

This California interview was supported by the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program.

View other Densho Archive Spotlights.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

History, Memory, and the Japanese American Citizens League

Why does the issue of loyalty remain so divisive in the Japanese American community even today? This month's "From the Archive" article looks at a painful and contentious aspect of the wartime experience -- the role of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in crafting what scholar Eiichiro Azuma calls a "master narrative" of Japanese American history. This narrative, actively promoted by the JACL, constructed an image of Japanese Americans as superpatriotic and unwavering in their support of the United States- - the "quiet Americans" as one Nisei author put it. Not an expose or attack on the organization, the article instead explores the process of history making and attempts to understand why, after seventy years, the Japanese American community has yet to fully reckon with the legacies of the incarceration.

Read the rest of this article.