American history has a dark side that students rarely hear about. The internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II has fallen into the shadows of history books and is skimmed over in classrooms on a national level.
Yuba College is trying to remedy the apathy and ignorance toward this significant historical event by bringing the information to us. Our campus observed A Day of Remembrance, a day intended to educate people about the injustices that the Japanese-American community suffered at the hands of the United States Government. 120,000 people were taken from there homes and relocated to internment camps when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Executive Order 9066.
Yuba College’s own Crossing Borders/Building Bridges program had a hand in bringing this issue to the forefront with a presentation by Hiroshi Kashiwagi, a poet and author who was interned at Tule Lake during his late teens and early 20’s. “I want to let people know this really happened.” stated Kashiwagi. Unfortunately, though this Saturday event was free to the public and all were welcome, few Yuba College students or faculty members attended.
There were a number of camps across the country, many of which were in California. This is a part of our local history as well as national history. Yuba County was home to the Arboga Assembly Center, which was a part of the journey for many internees on their way to the Tule Lake Relocation Center, which was located near the California/Oregon border. The site of the Arboga Assembly Center is currently private property and does not have any sort of sign or recognition of it’s historical significance. The Yuba County Historical Preservation Society has taken an interest in this and will be erecting a historical maker at the site at the intersection of Broadway and Feather River Boulevard this month.
There is an exhibit on display in the library featuring photos and accounts of life in the camps and the devastating effects the internment had on the Japanese-American community. Docents will accompany the exhibit through the end of February.