The Times podcast: The fight to preserve Japanese American concentration camps

Manzanar Japanese American concentration camp
The rising sun illuminates the Sierra Nevada crest behind a restored guard tower at the Manzanar National Historic Site, a former 814-acre concentration camp for Japanese Americans in California.
(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

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They stand across the West in ruins, ghostly apparitions of one of the darkest moments in American history. Concentration camps, 10 in total, built during World War II to incarcerate 120,000 Japanese Americans for the crime of not being white.


But only two are designated as national sites, Manzanar in California and Minidoka in Idaho. Now, a bill in Congress seeks to designate a third concentration camp as a historic site, the Granada War Relocation Center in southeast Colorado, better known as Camp Amache.

At a time when hate crimes against Asian Americans continue to rise, activists say it couldn’t come at a more important time.

Today, we’ll talk with Caitlyn Kim, a Colorado Public Radio reporter who’s covering the push to turn Camp Amache into a national historical site. And we’ll speak with Bruce Embry, who has been making an annual pilgrimage to Manzanar for more than 50 years. Embry’s mother was incarcerated there.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: Colorado Public Radio reporter Caitlyn Kim and Manzanar Committee co-chair Bruce Embry

More reading:

Advocates For Historic Designation Of Colorado Japanese Internment Camp Say It Would ‘Help Tell A More Complete Story of America’

Sue Kunitomi Embrey, 83; Former Internee Pushed for Historic Status of Manzanar


The ‘No-Nos’ of Tule Lake

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About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, producer Shannon Lin, senior producers Steven Cuevas and Denise Guerra, executive producer Abbie Fentress Swanson and editor Julia Turner. Our engineer is Mario Diaz and our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.