Japanese-American Internment Camps Preservation Initiative
It is an often overlooked episode of American history. After the start of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the forced relocation and incarceration of Japanese Americans to internment camps. In 1942, a total of 120,000 Japanese were interned in 10 different camps—the single largest forced relocation in U.S. history.
Families were forced to leave their homes, businesses and belongings to live in camps surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers. The living quarters were quickly built and substandard and had no cooking facilities or bathrooms. About half of those interned were children.
Our Efforts To Save The History Of Japanese Internment Camps
In 2005 the Fund established its Japanese-American Internment Camp Preservation Initiative to acquire the lands once used as campsites. Many of the camps have little left as evidence of their existence. Protecting these sites leaves a lasting historical legacy that ensures future generations have a better understanding of the impact of World War II on American society. These historic sites provide a chance to understand, appreciate and learn that the denial of civil rights is not to be repeated or forgotten.
The Fund is focusing its initial efforts on three camp sites: Tule Lake, California; Topaz, Utah; and Minidoka, Idaho. We’re pursuing opportunities to purchase unprotected land at the sites and to increase their level of protection through either federal legislation or national historic landmark designation.