$2.9 million will go to Japanese American confinement sites

Last week, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis announced 21 grants totaling more than $2.9 million to help preserve and interpret the World War II confinement sites of Japanese Americans. More than 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were American citizens, were imprisoned by the U.S. government following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

“As America’s storyteller, the National Park Service is committed to sharing this tragic episode of our nation’s past and what it teaches us about the fragility of our constitutional rights,” Jarvis said. “These grants fund projects to help us gain a better understanding of the past, engage new audiences, and build new partnerships in the preservation of these historic sites and lessons they hold.”

Projects selected include the stabilization of the historic elementary school at the former Poston site in Arizona; an educational training program for 600 teachers across California on the local and national stories about the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II; and an exhibition exploring the significance of the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Japanese American veterans of World War II who served in the military while their families lived behind barbed wire.

The grants include $209,982 to Densho in Seattle for an online repository for editing confinement sites video testimonies, and $33,419 to Earshot Jazz Society of Seattle for a Panama Hotel jazz education and performance extension at Bainbridge Island, the Seattle Temporary Detention Facility, and the Puyallup Assembly Center.

The Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program will support projects in seven states and the District of Columbia. The grants total $2,905,000 and bring the program’s total awards to more than $15 million since Congress established the grant program in 2006. A total of $38 million in grant funds was authorized for the life of the program.

Funds from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant program can go to the 10 War Relocation Authority centers established in 1942 or to more than 40 other confinement sites. The goal of the program is to teach present and future generations about the injustice of the World War II confinement and inspire a commitment to equal justice under the law. (end)

For more details about these projects, visit http://www.nps.gov/hps/hpg/JACS/. For further information, contact Kara Miyagishima, program manager for the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program, at 303-969-2885 or kara_miyagishima@nps.gov.

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