Only the Oaks Remain: The Story of Tuna Canyon Detention Station
December 10, 2016 - April 9, 2017
Only the Oaks Remain: The Story of Tuna Canyon Detention Station tells the true stories of those targeted as dangerous enemy aliens and imprisoned in the Tuna Canyon Detention Station, located in the Tujunga neighborhood of Los Angeles, by the US Department of Justice during World War II. Photographs, letters, and diaries bring the experiences of prisoners—who included Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants and Japanese Peruvians—to life.
During the decade before World War II, the US government compiled lists of people seen as potential risks to national security. When the war began, Presidential Proclamations 2525, 2526, and 2527 authorized the FBI and other agencies to arrest such individuals—mostly spiritual, educational, business, and community leaders from the Japanese, German, and Italian immigrant communities. The government also rounded up Japanese and other individuals who had previously been forcibly removed from Latin America.
Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the US Department of Justice took over a vacated Civilian Conservation Corps camp in the Tujunga neighborhood of Los Angeles and converted it into a detention station by installing twelve-foot-high barbed wire fences, guard posts, and flood lights. The Tuna Canyon Detention Station became one of many initial confinement sites set up by the government. Targeted individuals were quickly arrested in their homes, leaving behind confused and frightened families; most detainees were later sent to Department of Justice or Army internment camps.
Only the Oaks Remain commemorates the history of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station and seeks to educate the public about the violation of civil rights that took place there. The special display features photographs, letters, diaries, interviews, and declassified government documents that serve to illuminate a largely untold story that goes beyond the more widely-known story of the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans. A highlight is an Honor Wall that bears each detainee’s name, creating a contemplative space for viewers. By taking an unprecedented look at war’s impact on a disparate group of detainees, examining striking similarities as well as differences among them, the display encourages present and future generations to learn from our nation’s mistakes.
Only the Oaks Remain is presented by the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness about the site’s history. The group has already succeeded in having the site designated as Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument No. 1039. Now, they are working to develop a permanent Tuna Canyon Detention Station Memorial, which will include a plaque and educational posts installed along a walking path lined with mature oak trees, to further educate future generations. For more information, visit tunacanyon.org.
This project was organized by the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition; funded, in part, by a grant from the US Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program; and sponsored by the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center.
Members Only Exhibition Tour: Only the Oaks Remain: The Story of Tuna Canyon Detention Station
Join a representative from the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition for an informative tour of this special display.
Limited to 20 members; reservations are required. RSVP to email@example.com or 213.830.5646.
Panel Discussion—The Women of Tuna Canyon Detention Station
In honor of Women’s History Month and in conjunction with Only the Oaks Remain: The Story of Tuna Canyon Detention Station, JANM presents a special panel discussion highlighting the stories of women who were left behind as their husbands and fathers were imprisoned at Tuna Canyon. The event will include personal reflections on the era as well as readings by historians.
Free with museum admission. RSVPs are recommended using the link below.
Members Only Program and Reception—Only the Oaks Remain
Only the Oaks Remain tells the true stories of those targeted as dangerous enemy aliens and imprisoned in the Tuna Canyon Detention Station, located in the Tujunga neighborhood of Los Angeles, by the US Department of Justice during World War II.
In conjunction with the opening day, all JANM members are invited to a moderated panel discussion. Speakers will include Dr. Lloyd Hitt, local Tujunga historian; Dr. Sigrid Toye, daughter of a German detainee taken on the night that bombs fell on Pearl Harbor; and Grace Shimizu, who will talk about the Japanese Latin Americans who were imprisoned at Tuna Canyon. Program will be followed by a light reception.
RSVP by December 7 to firstname.lastname@example.org or 213.625.0414, ext. 2222.