The first challenge at Manzanar is to provide an adequate context through which the public can be engaged in a discussion of social issues related to the internment of Japanese Americans. Manzanar National Historic Site is characterized by an abundance of sagebrush and dust; only a few remnants of the camp are visible. Without physical reminders it is difficult to explain to visitors that this was indeed an internment camp.
When you visit Manzanar today, you can be so inspired by the location's beauty
that you miss the important story told there. Manzanar is located in one of
the primary recreation areas for millions of southern Californians. The park
is surrounded by recreational opportunities such as fishing in countless alpine
lakes and streams, hiking in the Sierra Nevada, and climbing Mount Whitney.
In fact, some visitors have mentioned that, with its location near such beautiful
mountains, the camp experience couldn't have been so bad. The camp has been
likened to a summer camp in the mountains rather than an important site in
the history of the struggle for civil rights.
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