Densho eNews - May

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

Today's Los Angeles Times is running a front-page article on Densho's online archive of 4,000 newspapers published in the incarceration camps. >> Read the article

Here in Seattle, in my world normally dominated by email and websites, I enjoy going to community events to see old friends face to face and to make new friends. It's a great opportunity to hear what people think about our work and to get energized by their enthusiasm and support. I also love hearing the personal stories that give me new insights. At an event I attended last week, Olympian speed skater Apolo Ohno spoke of his motivation. What struck me was how he embraced and enjoyed the daily challenges and struggles of training eight hours a day. He said he cherished these memories of daily striving over winning gold medals. At first taken aback by these words, I am now inspired by his wisdom of appreciating each day over outward accomplishments.

Ohno also paid tribute to his Asian elders in the audience. It was heartwarming to hear a young half-Japanese champion respectfully recognize the generation that Densho's work pays tribute to. This month's eNews feature article looks at how pilgrimages to former incarceration camps have helped Japanese Americans heal, learn, and teach about their experiences. See the Community Events section for information about the upcoming pilgrimage to Minidoka, the camp that detained so many of our community's elders.

From the Archive

Healing Journeys: Pilgrimages to Former Incarceration Camps

"So now it's out in the open... After the last pilgrimage, I'm not being quiet anymore. It might be a little late, but it's better than never."
   - Marianne West

Countless sansei (third generation) Japanese Americans will tell you their parents either never spoke of the camps that detained them during World War II, or they referred only in passing to lighter social aspects. The nisei (second generation) might have mentioned brass bands and baseball, but not the searchlights and guard towers looming above these all-American pastimes.

>> Read more of this article

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Densho News

Densho Resources Featured in Los Angeles Times

A front-page article, "Barbed Wire and Free Press" by Steve Chawkins, in the May 3 edition of the Los Angeles Times is based on resources available in the free Densho Digital Archive. Our website offers 4,000 editions of the newspapers published by the incarcerees at the ten War Relocation Authority camps. The article notes, "Until Densho's project, the camp newspapers - which vary from crude, mimeographed handouts to professionally printed 12-page sections available at 2 cents a copy - were scattered through museums and university libraries."

>> Read the article
>> Register for the Densho Digital Archive

Longterm Project Award

On April 24, Densho received a Longterm Project Award from the Association of King County Historical Organizations (AKCHO). The award ceremony was held at the Museum of History and Industry in conjunction with a viewing of the exhibition Essential Seattle. AKCHO presents the annual award to an organization for an outstanding ongoing publication, video, or oral history project with longterm impact. Densho is honored to be recognized by fellow historical preservationists.

>> More information about the award

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Community Events

Minidoka Pilgrimage and Civil Liberties Symposium

The Friends of Minidoka will lead the 2007 pilgrimage to the site of the former incarceration camp near Twin Falls, Idaho, from June 22 to June 24 (registration deadline June 1). Preceding the pilgrimage on June 21-22 is the second annual symposium "Civil Liberties in Wartime," featuring scholars and legal speakers as well as a presentation by Densho. Professional credit for teachers is available through Boise State University. A participant in last year's pilgrimage relates why he feels compelled to return: "The sharing of experiences by the internees in the concentration camp was enlightening as well as invoking a sadness in me that I still cannot explain fully. I guess I am still searching and plan to attend the 2007 program to keep seeking a part of my life that is hard to recover from the archives in my memory."

>> More information about the pilgrimage and symposium

Ellis Island Exhibit for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May is national Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, honoring the diverse Asian cultures that contribute to our society. Densho is pleased to lend an excerpt from our "Sites of Shame" website to the National Park Service's exhibit at the Ellis Island Museum, New York. The month-long exhibit explores Asian American history throughout the nation.

>> For information about the Ellis Island Museum

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