Ithaca's cooperatively-owned independent bookstore since 2011
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UNFORGOTTEN Voices from Heart Mountain chronicles the lives of those who lived on both sides of the barbed wire fence in a place known as Heart Mountain, a U.S. government prison camp in the harsh high desert of Wyoming during World War II. In 1941, when Japan attacked the United States, West Coast residents of Japanese ancestry-two thirds of them American-born citizens-became the "enemy" overnight. In a matter of months 120,000 men, women and children were imprisoned in 10 such camps, though their only crime was looking like the enemy. Told in their own words, from interviews, diaries, and letters; these are heartfelt histories told by the prisoners, those who imprisoned them, and nearby townspeople. These are personal narratives of students, teachers, young adults whose lives were on hold, those who served in the army, the WACS, and resisters who refused to serve unless their rights as citizens were restored and their families released. From Dec 7th to the post war years, Unforgotten tells the story of a little know chapter in our country's history. Illustrated with photos from family collections, archives, and newspapers. Their voices live on to warn as well as witness what happens when the foundational principles of our democracy are forgotten, and we fail to protect the civil liberties of others as well as our own.
Here are just three of the memorable voices...
"My dad, on the 7th of December 1941, couldn't understand why, as he said, the land of his birth was attacking the land of his heart." - Hon. Norman Mineta
"When I first saw Heart Mountain, my heart sank. Bleak, scrubby, barren, desolate... somber tar-paper shacks...guard towers with armed American soldiers, guarding American prisoners."
- Frank Hayami
"I'm afraid there's going to be some trouble if the mess hall situation isn't cleared up...they had no food for breakfast...there wasn't enough for supper, and they had been eating frankfurters for three days. - Administrator John A. Nelson Diary