“During World War II the US government incarcerated over 110,000 Japanese Americans, in ten different detention centers throughout the United States. One of these sites was Manzanar; in 1992, Manzanar was declared a National Historic Site. But apart from the cemetery, there was little there. The committee did not want to settle for a staid, sterile museum and so they worked with the National Park Service to rebuild portions of the camp exactly as they had been during the war. The most powerful symbol might be the site’s newest addition, a replica of the women’s latrine with a trough sink and row of five toilets with no dividers between them. It’s a stark reminder of the humiliation felt by many Japanese Americans during their incarceration. The annual pilgrimage of Japanese-Americans and others will take place on April 29th, 2017.”
How we collectively remember history in the landscape? Do you erase national embarrassments that open wounds of the past or is the act of memorialization cathartic and part of becoming a better country? After Pearl Harbor, the U.S. listened to the fears of the public and military officials and interned U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry. Today, how this history is remembered is deeply important to many groups in the United States. There are some great images, videos and primary sources in this episode of the 99 Percent Invisible podcast.