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Inquiry Question

Historical Context





Table of

About This Lesson

The lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places files "Manzanar War Relocation Center" (with photographs) and "Rohwer Relocation Center Memorial Cemetery" (with photographs); Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites written by Jeffery F. Burton, Mary M. Farrell, Florence B. Lord, and Richard W. Lord; and other related materials. The lesson was written by Kathleen Hunter, an education consultant living in Hartford, Connecticut. It was edited by Fay Metcalf, Marilyn Harper, and the Teaching with Historic Places staff. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.

There has been a great deal of impassioned debate about what to call the people who were relocated and the places they were relocated to. This lesson will use the terms used by the government in 1942: "relocation center" and "evacuee."

Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: Teachers could use the lesson in an American history unit on World War II or in a social studies unit on human rights.
Time period: World War II
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12

Objectives for students
1) To analyze the reasons why people of Japanese ancestry living in the United States at the onset of World War II were removed from their homes on the West Coast and placed in relocation centers.
2) To examine the places where relocation centers were established.
3) To describe the characteristic features of the centers.
4) To examine the reactions of some of the residents.
5) To research the local community to see if a perceived enemy was ever unfairly treated, and, if so, how that mistreatment might be acknowledged.

Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) two maps showing Japanese military successes in 1941-42 and the locations of the relocation centers,;
2) three readings about the relocation program and the centers;
3) one drawing of residential block layouts; and
4) seven photos of the centers.

Visiting the site
Manzanar National Historic Site, established in 1992, is administered by the National Park Service. It is located 10 miles north of Lone Pine, California and five miles south of Independence on State Highway 395. Tours and educational programs are available. For more information, contact the Manzanar National Historic Site, P. O. Box 426, Independence, CA 93526-0426, or visit the park's web site.

The Rohwer Relocation Center Memorial Cemetery is located one half mile north of the town of Rohwer, in southeastern Arkansas. Take State Highway 1 and turn west at the Rohwer Cemetery sign.



Comments or Questions

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