Poston War Relocation Center - Poston, AZ
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
N 33° 59.257 W 114° 24.073
11S E 740058 N 3763827
Quick Description: Site of the Poston War Relocation Center in Poston, AZ.
Location: Arizona, United States
Date Posted: 9/30/2019 11:13:36 PM
Waymark Code: WM11D4X
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Tante.Hossi
Views: 1

Long Description:
From the plaques: "This memorial monument marks the site of the Poston War Relocation Center where 17,867 persons of Japanese ancestry, the majority of whom were United States Citizens, were interned during World War II. From May 1942 to November 1945, all persons of Japanese descent living on west coast farms, businesses, towns, cities and states were forcibly evacuated by the United States Military on the grounds that they posed a threat to the National Security. This massive relocation was authorized by executive order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942.

This memorial is dedicated to all those men, women and children who suffered countless hardships and indignities at the hands of a nation misguided by wartime hysteria, racial prejudice and fear. May it serve as a constant reminder of our past so that Americans in the future will never again be denied their constitutional rights and may the remembrances of that experience serve to advance the evolution of the human spirit.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. This executive order authorized the Secretary of War or any military commander designated by the Secretary to establish zones from which any or all persons could be excluded or evacuated. 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry living in strategic western states were evacuated and interned by military law in fifteen (15) wartime Civilian Control Administration (WCCA) Centers. These hastily built detention centers were, in most cases, either fair grounds or race tracks that were surrounded by barbed wire fences and placed under heavy surveillance by armed U.S. soldiers.
War Relocation Authority.

On March 18, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9102, establishing the War Relocation Authority (WRA). The WRA was a civilian agency charged with overseeing the military evacuation and internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry.

WRA defined a war relocation center as a pioneer community with basic housing and protective services provided by the Federal Government for the internees for the duration of World War II.

Poston was one of the ten (10) WRA Centers constructed in 1942. It was planned in cooperation with the, U.S. Indian Service, as it was sited on the Colorado River Indian Reservation, a hot and arid area of Arizona. Poston was built as three separate units (Poston Unit I, II and III). The facility was named after Charles Poston, a government engineer who planned an irrigation system to serve the needs of the Indian People along the Colorado River. Wade Head, the Superintendent of the Papago Indian Reservation of Arizona, was appointed Poston Project Director. The internees with their limited baggage began to arrive on May 8, 1942 and by August 1942, the population peaked at 17,867. Almost overnight Poston became Arizona’s second largest city.

Each unit was self-governed within the guidelines established by the Poston Administrator. The communal unit revolved around the internees housed in a block of fourteen (14) barracks, mess hall, laundry and ironing room, as well as segregated latrine and shower facilities. Each block elected a manager and council representative who met with the unit administrator weekly, or as needed.

The double roofed tar papered barracks were 20 feet wide by 100 feet long. Thin wall boards partitioned the barracks into 20 feet by 24 feet rooms, each room housing a family of up to eight internees.

Those who worked were paid for a 48-hour work week. There was a maximum salary of $19.00 per month for professionals, such as doctors, managers, and teachers: $16.00 per month for blue collar workers, cooks, bakers, truck and tractor drivers and warehousemen; and $12.00 per month for laborers.

Health care was provided by internee medical doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and nurses aides. A hospital was maintained in Unit I and clinics in both Units II and III.

School administrators and teachers were hastily recruited from throughout America, but many of the instructors were internees who were either college students or high school graduates. Classes ranged from pre-school through twelfth grade. Initially, classes were held in designated empty barracks. Later, classes were held in adobe school buildings constructed with bricks made by the internees. Adult education classes in English were provided for the Issei, first generation Japanese-Americans and were very well attended.

Many internees brought with them packets of garden and vegetable seeds. The small garden plots between the barracks were so successful that a full-scale irrigated farming program was instituted. The harvest from these farms yielded bountiful crops of melons and assorted vegetables. A chicken ranch and hog farm were also successfully established and maintained.

As internees settled into the routine of camp life, spiritual life was strengthened. Church services were conducted for Buddhists, Christians and those of other faiths. In order to cope with the boredom of confinement, internees searched for and developed many pursuits. Talents were unleashed to create many paintings, haiku, and other works of art. Periodic talent shows and movies provided entertainment. Baseball and basketball were the two most popular sports with competitive block teams vying for unit and all-position championships. A weekly newsletter was published to give instructions and to report events within each camp unit.

In 1943, more than 1,200 internees volunteered to serve with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Most of these volunteers were Nisei, second generation Japanese-Americans who were American citizens by birth. They left their parents and loved ones behind in camps like Poston to fight and die for the United States on the battlefields of Italy, France and Germany. The 442nd emerged as the most highly intelligence service in the Pacific Theater where they performed with valor and distinction in the war with Japan. In the fall of 1943, the Nisei became draftable as their selective service classification was changed from 4-C, enemy alien, to A-1.

Nisei men and women served in nearly every theater of operations with honor, courage and pride to help protect and preserve for all Americans the same constitutional freedoms that were, at that very time, being denied them and their families.

In the Fall of 1942, many internees responded to the urgent call for workers to assist in the harvest of the sugar beet crop in the mountain states. Another vanguard of the resettlement were college bound students who were assisted by the National Student Relocation Council, The American Friends Service Committee and numerous individuals. In 1943 many internees resettled in the Mountain, Midwest and Eastern regions of the U.S. for employment and a better way of life.

On December 17, 1944, the War Department announced the revocation of the West Coast Exclusion Orders for the people of Japanese ancestry effective January 2, 1945. The following day, WRA Director, Dillon S. Myer, announced the closure of all WRA centers by December 31, 1945 and the abolishment of the entire WRA Program.

During the five decades following World War II, the Colorado River Indian Reservation has been transformed into a blooming garden by a series of innovative irrigation and hydroelectric projects. Still the home of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, it now stands as a tribute to Arizona’s bright agricultural future. Very little remains to remind the public of what took place in this peaceful valley fifty years ago, when thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry were taken from their homes. Numbered, tagged and then herded into places like Poston where they were held captive by their own country until the United States Government finally realized the full moral and legal implications of what it had done to its own citizens.

Hence, what happened in Poston during those few years, 1942-1945, should be a constant reminder that all Americans without qualification or exception have the Constitutional rights to live in that society governed by reason and laws and by truth and justice.
December 6, 1992

To all men and women who honorably served in the United States Armed Forces in defense of this nation and its people, particularly to those Americans of Japanese ancestry, who, during World War II, fought so valiantly for their country while their parents and families were being interned in the Poston War Relocation Center without due process of Law.

And to those brave young men who gave their lives in service to their country

PFC Hiroo Endo • S/SGT. Abe M. Fuji • PFC. Charles Fujiki • PFC. Tadao Hayashi • PFC. Torado Hayashi • PFC. Paul Horiuchi • PVT. Eugene Inouye • PFC. Henry Izumizaki • PFC. Harry Madokoro • PFC. Hachiro Mukai • PFC. Fumitake Nagato • CPL. John Narimatsu • PVT. Kongo Nitta • SGT. John Ogawa • T/SGT. Abraham Ohama • PFC. Lloyd Onoye • T/SGT. Atsushi Sakamoto • PVT. Joe Shiomichi • S/SGT. James K. Shiramizu • PVT. Michio Teshima • PFC. Shichizo Toyota • PFC. Daniel Tsukamoto • PFC. John Yamamoto • S/SGT. Timothy I. Mizokami
Your sacrifices will always be remembered.
This plaque is dedicated by the Poston Memorial Monument Committee, former internees of Poston, Veterans and Friends of the Fiftieth Year Observance
October 6, 1992."
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