FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 18, 2003

PRESS CONTACTS:

Jessica Hayes - jhayes@ualr.edu - 213-830-5648

Nancy Araki - naraki@janm.org -

Life Interrupted: The Japanese American Experience in WWII Arkansas


The overall project, entitled “Life Interrupted: The Japanese American Experience in WWII Arkansas”, includes the use of four National Museum traveling exhibitions and the creation and development of three other exhibitions to open in Little Rock in September of 2004. It also includes an all-day conference (a follow-up to the successful All-Camps Summit organized by the National Museum in November of 2002), optional luncheon and optional banquet dinner and an optional tour of the two World War II campsites at Jerome and Rohwer in the Arkansas delta.

During World War II, the United States government illegally incarcerated 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry in 10 domestic concentration camps, all located in desolate areas west of the Mississippi. Arkansas was one of three states to be the site of two camps. In 1988, the United States government admitted its error and provided redress and token reparations to the survivors of the World War II camps. Yet despite the government’s apology, the largest constitutional violation of the 20th Century is not well known to Americans today.

The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation is seeking to educate Arkansans on this important chapter of American and state history through “Life Interrupted”. The existing National Museum exhibitions to be installed in sites around Little Rock are America’s Concentration Camps: Remembering the Japanese American Experience; Henry Sugimoto: Painting an American Experience; Beyond the Call of Duty: Honoring the 24 Japanese American Medal of Honor Recipients; and Witness: Our Brothers’ Keepers: Japanese American and Jewish American GIs. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is developing exhibits on the Japanese American World War II experience in Arkansas and on artwork created in the camps. Also, the National Museum will develop an exhibition on the Jamie Vogel murals as well.

Opening receptions for the exhibitions are set for Thursday, September 23 and 24, 2004, in Little Rock. The all-day conference, “Camp Connections: A Conversation about Social Justice and Civil Rights Issues in Arkansas”, will take place at the Peabody Hotel adjacent to the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock on Saturday, September 25, 2004. The optional luncheon and banquet dinner are set for Saturday as well. The tour to the campsites will be set for Sunday, September 26, 2004.

For more information on “Life Interrupted”, go to http://ualr.edu/lifeinterrupted/. Those interested in attending the conference should contact Jessica Hayes, Project Manager, Life Interrupted, Arkansas division, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Department of History, 2801 S. University Ave., Little Rock, AR 7220 or e-mail: jhayes@ualr.edu; or contact Nancy Araki, Community Affairs, Life Interrupted, Los Angeles division, Japanese American National Museum, 369 E. First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 or e-mail naraki@janm.org.