Resettlement and Dispersal

in Concentration Camps on the Home Front

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780226354767
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226354774 | DOI:
Resettlement and Dispersal

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This chapter details how from 1943 authorities pushed many inmates out of the camps. Not back to their homes in California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii, but into “normal” American communities in the Northeast, the Midwest, and elsewhere. Before the war, West Coast urban enclaves and farming villages had been important sources of mutual aid, shared customs, and safety. They were no more secretive and insular than they were supportive and inclusive. In many respects, they were the product of classic American residential segregation, the last resort of outcasts from neighborhoods zoned as lily-white. Now, at their most vulnerable, Japanese Americans were encouraged to confront that bigotry head-on and try to blend into predominantly white communities. Thus, so-called resettlement was in fact dispersal. Washington administrators and East Coast editorialists explicitly set out to destroy Little Tokyos. And while some Japanese Americans objected and asked to remain in the camps, many defiantly returned to the West Coast and attempted, yet again, to rebuild their communities.

Keywords: Japanese Americans; urban enclaves; farming villages; residential segregation; bigotry; white communities

Chapter.  8742 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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