From the Director: Tom Ikeda
Over the years I've asked Japanese Americans, teachers, and historians, "How will the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans be remembered after the last incarceree is gone?" The answer I hear most is that the memory of this event will gradually diminish over the decades until it becomes a historical footnote, known primarily by historians and scholars.
Our mission at Densho is to create a very different outcome for the memory of the incarceration. We believe the story of how fear, ignorance, and greed led to the unjust incarceration of 120,000 innocent Japanese Americans is too important for Americans to forget because our country will be faced with similar circumstances in the future. Our goal is to ensure the Japanese American incarceration story be part of the common knowledge of the American public, with some near-term steps toward that goal being to:
- preserve and make widely available over the internet the diverse and authentic voices of Japanese Americans from the World War II era through oral histories, photographs, and documents;
- create engaging, well researched and documented educational materials and references about the incarceration experience; and,
- train thousands of teachers nationwide about the incarceration and how to connect this event with current events.
I am pleased to announce that Densho is getting a helpful boost towards this goal with $594,713 awarded in grants. The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program (CCLPEP) awarded Densho $50,000 in two grants. One grant is to capture, preserve, and share oral histories to join our 500+ visual history collection on the web. The other CCLPEP grant is to support our two-year project to create a new online encyclopedia about the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans.
The National Park Service -- Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) program awarded Densho $544,713 in two grants. One grant is to expand an online repository of primary sources about the WWII incarceration by partnering with other regional institutions. The other JACS grant is to train 600 classroom teachers to connect the WWII experiences of Japanese Americans with current issues and controversies facing our country today.
Thank you to the folks at CCLPEP and JACS for this strong show of support! See below for more information about each of the awarded grants.