Densho eNews - February

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

In 2008 I voted for President Obama hoping for comparisons with Franklin D Roosevelt, a Democratic President who entered office amid a financial crisis and who used the federal government to help working people find and keep jobs. However, I did not expect or want my comparison to extend to FDR's signing 70 years ago of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the military round-up and removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast. On December 31, 2011, after expressing some misgivings, President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (the annual defense budget) with a provision that allows the President to authorize the military to imprison civilians indefinitely anywhere in the world, including American citizens, without charging or putting them on trial.

Although President Obama states he will not indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without a trial, by his authorization of the NDAA he has made it easier for future administrations to do so. Furthermore, any protections granted to an American citizen may be sidestepped if current legislation, the "Enemy Expatriation Act," making its way through Congress is passed and signed into law. This legislation would allow the government to strip citizenship from Americans "engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States." It does not seem farfetched to imagine that criticism of our country's fight against terrorism or a contribution to a Muslim charity will one day be used as a reason to exile an American.

Join a conversation about the NDAA and Enemy Expatriation Act on Densho's Facebook page and let me know what you think. Or you can email me directly with your thoughts at [email protected].

From the Blog

Terrorism, 1945 Style

This blog post from Densho's Content Director Brian Niiya discusses the "terroristic incidents" faced by Japanese Americans upon their return to the West Coast after leaving camp.

>> Read Densho's blog

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Archive Spotlight

Jim Matsuoka: An Unpleasant School Assembly in Camp

Jim Matsuoka was grade school age when he and his family were sent to the Manzanar incarceration camp, California. In this clip, he remembers feeling upset by a speech made by a school principal in during a camp school assembly. Jim Matsuoka's full interview is available in the Densho Digital Archive.

>> View the interview excerpt
>> Register for the free Densho Digital Archive

Densho News

Two New Staff Members

We are pleased to start the year by welcoming two new staff members to Densho. Caitlin Oiye takes the role of Photo and Document Collections Manager coming from King County where she focused on electronic records management systems. Ruth Huffman joins us in the role of Office Manager after a variety of occupations including being a Foreign Fishing Observer, Microsoft Program Manager, and Massage Therapist.

>> Learn more about Densho's staff

Over 600 interviews available in Densho's Digital Archive

A top priority at Densho is to capture first-person stories as the Nisei generation ages and as the window for interviewing those with first hand memories of incarceration closes. In 2011 we added a record number of 132 interviews to our online archive bringing the total number of interviews to over 600. We processed more interviews in 2011 than the combined numbers in 2009 and 2010, which were previously our best two years for adding interviews. Great work interview team!

>> Register for the free Densho Digital Archive

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