Interning Japanese-Americans

Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, accompanied by WRA National Director Dillon S. Myer, visits the Gila River Relocation Center.
Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, accompanied by WRA National Director Dillon S. Myer, visits the Gila River Relocation Center.

WRA photograph, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

In 1942, almost 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced from their homes in California, western Oregon and Washington, and southern Arizona in the single largest forced relocation in U.S. history.

Many would spend the next 3 years in one of ten "relocation centers" across the country run by the newly-formed War Relocation Authority (WRA). In some cases even Americans of German and Italian decent were detained. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt stated towards war end "to undo a mistake is always harder than not to create one originally but we seldom have the foresight. …every citizen in this country has a right to our basic freedoms, to justice and to equality of opportunity ."

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