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Architecture of Internment:

The Buildup to Wartime Incarceration

This traveling exhibit, created by Graham Street Productions, explores how Oregonians participated in the decision to incarcerate Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants during World War II. This is the story of how individuals, organizations, businesses and elected officials advocated for the incarceration of Oregonians of Japanese ancestry or stood by while it happened.

With the separation and incarceration of children during the spring and summer of 2018, and the threat of the indefinite detention of families, the continuing relevance of the detention of Japanese American Oregonians is evident. Recognizing the importance of the history of immigrant incarceration, both during World War II and today, The Columbia County Coalition for Human Dignity (CCCHD) is presenting several opportunities for Columbia County citizens to view this timely and valuable exhibit.

Each location will also run a concurrent essay contest for high school seniors on the topic “Why is it Important for Us to Remember the Internment of Japanese Americans during WWII”? Awards will be issued at a later date, allowing students time to see the exhibit and attend a presentation. Awards will include gift cards for all first, second and third place finishers, and a signed copy of one of Lawson Inada’s books for the first place finishers.  For more information see: Japanese Internment Essay Contest

In the exhibit at each location, see personal letters and proclamations from Oregonians to Governor Charles Sprague in 1941 and 1942, advocating for the exclusion and incarceration of Japanese American Oregonians. View the Oregon Governor’s response to these letters and proclamations revealing his changing position under political and social pressure. Additionally, see blueprints of potential civilian prison locations such as race tracks and fairgrounds from around the state. Also, see letters from Japanese Americans responding to this injustice. Dozens of photographs included in the exhibit play a big part in telling this story.

Come to any of the above locations and join the conversation as we compare historic events to contemporary examples of people in our country being profiled and targeted based on their ancestry, nationality, religion, color, orientation, etc. This exhibit is free and open to the public.