About the Project

During World War II, about 65,000 Japanese Americans—nearly one half of the mainland Japanese American population—lived in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah either in concentration camps created by the United States government, as long standing community members, or as “resettlers” from the West Coast. Following the War, those who bore these injustices built, re-built and continued to contribute to their communities. While they never forgot their experiences, much of the world already has.

In collaboration with our five partner anchor institutions—Arizona State University’s Asian Pacific American Studies Program; University of Colorado, Boulder; University of New Mexico; UTSA’s Institute of Texan Cultures; and Davis School District, Utah, Enduring Communities: The Japanese American Experience in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah is an ambitious three-year project dedicated to re-examining an often-neglected chapter in U.S. history and connecting it with current issues of today.

The major components of the project include:

  • Curricula: creating educational curricula about the Japanese American World War II experience specific to each of the five state’s needs
  • National Conference: July 3-6, 2008 in Denver, Colorado, entitled, Whose America? Who’s American? Diversity, Civil Liberties, and Social Justice, about the connections between the Japanese American experience and the historical and contemporary issues surrounding democracy and civil rights
  • Field Guide: developing a field guide handbook about this project for peer institutions.

Enduring Communities builds upon the National Museum’s successful landmark project, Life Interrupted: The Japanese American Experience in World War II Arkansas, which has enabled over 70,000 Arkansas students to continue to learn about this important aspect of our history. A significant highlight of Life Interrupted was its major national conference, Camp Connections: A Conversation About Civil Rights and Social Justice in Arkansas in Little Rock, that brought over 1,300 people from across the nation in September, 2004.

Join us as we continue our efforts to better understand the lessons of our past for a stronger, more just democracy today and tomorrow.