SHINE on Salem 150, celebrating the sesquicentennial of our city's 1860 charter, continues (and concludes) with the 2012 entry.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Tag of Memory

Yesterday, November 14, Mission Mill Museum sponsored a program by June Schumann of the Portland Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center. Her excellently prepared (and charmingly delivered) presentation reminded us of the experiences of the American West Coast families of Japanese descent who were "relocated" in 1942 during World War II. The chart above shows the areas effected by relocation. Families east of the line were not spared discrimination: they lived under strict restrictions and oppressive surveillance.

The photo below shows a typical family as they departed, leaving their homes and all their possessions, taking only one suitcase apiece. At the presentation, we were each given a tag like the ones shown.
We might ask ourselves two questions: How would we feel wearing such identification as our own families left our homes with the uncertain future they faced? What happened to the families who stood on the platform of the Salem Railroad Station more that sixty-five years ago wearing these tags?

1 comment:

Stephanie Matlock Allen said...

Last year's "Oregon Reads" book was "Stubborn Twig" by Laura Kessler, about a Japanese family in Oregon. It was fascinating, & I highly recommend it!