A Trip to Manzanar

You may find this video featuring a visit to a Japanese-American internment camp at Manzanar, California, to be of interest.

I find it of interest in part because the NPS ranger featured in the video, Patricia Biggs, was my undergraduate student at ASU (as well as my teaching assistant and as a grad student who took classes from me).

11 thoughts on “A Trip to Manzanar

  1. James F. Epperson September 15, 2016 / 6:07 pm

    Brooks, this was really fascinating. Thanks for posting it.

  2. John Foskett September 16, 2016 / 7:55 am

    Thanks for posting this interesting (and important) video. Manzanar isn’t the only place where this unfortunate event has been memorialized. Heart Mountain in Wyoming is another.


  3. rcocean September 16, 2016 / 7:15 pm

    I had a Japanese-American professor in college who told me that being “interned” was the best thing that happened to him. Because of the internment, he was able to go to college in 1943 in Philadelphia which set him on the road to success. He also talked about the large number of “crazy” 1st Generation Japanese in the camps who refused to pledge allegiance to the USA and who actually thought Japan was going to win the war. He was a very interesting fellow, and taught me that history is often grey and complex and opposed to black and white.

    • John Foskett September 18, 2016 / 9:02 am

      I could probably find Holocaust survivors whose experience put them on successful paths which they never otherwise would have followed. There were few – very few- interned Japanese who posed any remote threat to national security. On the other hand, a number of young Nisei who were forcibly moved to Heart Mountain with their families joined the 442d Regimental Combat Team and proved their loyalty as US citizens in bloody fighting in Europe. The entire incident was a racist embarrassment directly at odds with the Constitution and American values. It wasn’t “gray” at all.

      • Kristoffer September 18, 2016 / 3:52 pm

        “I could probably find Holocaust survivors whose experience put them on successful paths which they never otherwise would have followed.”
        Put on successful paths during the Holocaust itself? I seriously doubt it. Otherwise, I agree with both your post and RCOcean’s original post.

        • John Foskett September 20, 2016 / 2:57 pm

          I think you understood the concept – whether it technically was “during” the event or as a result. I stand by my point that there was nothing “gray” about the racially-based forced internment of American citizens, even if an isolated individual realized an opportunity.

          • Kristoffer September 21, 2016 / 10:07 am

            I agree with your point, I just thought you picked an impossible example.

          • John Foskett September 21, 2016 / 2:11 pm

            No problem.

      • rcocean October 6, 2016 / 7:04 pm

        I don’t care whether Professor Simpson publishes this or not. But I find you a complete dullard. Everything you write comes out of the “Liberalism for Dummies” handbook. When you’re not calling someone a ‘raciss’ for deviating from the party-line, you’re making some half-assed, Wikipedia based comment on the Civil war. If this blog had an “ignore function” I’d put you on it.

  4. bob carey September 17, 2016 / 6:12 am

    The NPS should be commended for establishing these sites which reflect some of the darker episodes of our history.
    In watching the video, I saw more appreciation on the part of the descendants in the fact that the site was preserved than rancor as to what happened there.

  5. Gerald R Greenfield September 19, 2016 / 11:48 am

    The video states the Japanese-American detainees at Mansanar wholeheartedly accepted their internment. I find that hard to believe. These were American citizens who were held against their free will by their American government because of their race and culture. When I was in law school, I had a legal argument with my instructor about the constitutionality/legality of locking up American citizens who had not been convicted or even charged with a crime. Yes, I know the US Sup. Ct. said it was OK, but I still say even they were violating their oath of office.

    Just a side comment: I grew up about a mile from a Japanese prison camp in Palm Springs, Calif. They were Japanese prisoners (WW II) from the Pacific whom the US Army worked at one of the largest army hospitals in the country (10,000 beds) in 1941-45. I was surrounded by mostly doctors and other medical personnel from the hospital.

    Jerry Greenfield

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s