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click to enlarge Loyalty
Segregation

Japanese internees who proclaimed themselves loyal began the long road back to a normal life through the work-release program or military service. Those who vented their anger and frustration moved in a different direction — toward the repression and isolation of the segregation camp at Tule Lake, California.




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The history of the Tule Lake camp was marked by "turmoil, idleness, impoverishment, and uncertainty," in the words of one resident. Strikers protested working conditions, riots broke out over food distribution, and the stockade quickly filled with angry, discontented men. Authoritarian tactics employed by security personnel served to make "martyrs" of protestors and increased agitation.




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Of the 18,422 people finally incarcerated at Tule Lake, 69 percent were citizens, most of them minor children; 39 percent had requested repatriation or expatriation to Japan; 26 percent had answered the loyalty questionnaire "unsatisfactorily"; and 31 percent were family members of "troublemakers."




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"The barbed-wire stockade surrounding the 18,000 people there [Tule Lake] was like that of the prison camps of the Germans. There were the same turrets for the soldiers and the same machine guns for those who might attempt to climb the high wiring..." —Chief Judge William Denman, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Years of Infamy,1949








Smithsonian - National Museum of American History - Behring Center
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