Farewell To Manzanar

by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, James D. Houston

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What activities were offered to the detainees at Manzanar?

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Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, which altered the lives of the Japanese people living in America. Members of the Japanese community in America were tagged suspects and contained in military camps. After President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, people of Japanese descent were relocated to Manzanar in Owens Valley. The Wakatsukis were separated from their father, who was held at Fort Lincoln as an enemy alien. The rest of the family finally proceeded to Manzanar.

In Manzanar, the people were engaged in different activities. For instance, some work at the reservoir, mama worked as a dietician, and Jeanne and Ray engaged in sports. She was quite interested in baton twirling while her brother played football. After the first year, the people started enjoying some freedoms such as venturing beyond the reservation’s boundaries. The children were taken beyond the fence for recreation while adults, like Papa, ventured out to obtain driftwood for carpentry within the camp. The people also operated a farm to improve their ability towards self-sustenance.

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