Photos from left to right: (1) A sign in a Los Angeles store window urges customers to pick up their dry cleaning before it's too late, warning, "We won't take it to Owens Valley for you;" (2) Soldiers line up as Japanese Americans forcibly removed from their homes arrive at Santa Anita; (3) Officials check IDs and search arriving Japanese Americans; and (4) the military exclusion order is posted in San Francisco on April 1, 1942.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, authorizing the military to designate "military zones," General John L. DeWitt subsequently issued "Instructions to All Persons of Japanese Ancestry" (above, right) on March 2, 1942. The instructions, posted in prominent places throughout the Japanese American community, indicated where and when the Issei and Nisei were to report with their belongings.
Unprepared for the mass removal of 120,000 men, women, and children, the U.S. Government looked for large sites that could be converted to secured facilities. Seventeen makeshift detention facilities, which became known as "assembly centers," were converted from racetracks and fairgrounds. These sites were rarely fit for human use, putting the incarcerees in former horse stalls and hastily constructed shacks. Even Army experts conceded that conditions were “not up to the Army’s standards of cleanliness.”
Most of the incarcerees who lived at Heart Mountain were originally sent to facilities at the Santa Anita Racetrack, the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, or the Livestock Exposition Pavilion in Portland, Oregon. They faced a cadre of soldiers as they arrived. Those forced into "assembly centers" were there for three to four months until more permanent facilities were established by the War Relocation Authority.
Today, the barracks area of the "Pomona Assembly Center" is used as the midway for fairs and other events and for parking.
"Pomona Assembly Center" is shown as construction continues on temporary barracks.
It didn't take long for incarcerees to establish a newspaper, the Pomona Center News. The staff is shown here in a group photo. Among them is artist Estelle Ishigo (seated, second from right), who chose to be confined with her husband even though, as a Caucasian, she could have remained free.
-PHOTO BY CLEM ALBERS
Photos from left to right: (1) A converted horse stall is "home" to this man at the "Santa Anita Assembly Center"; (2) Mess hall at "Portland Assembly Center" is shown shortly before dinner; (3) These temporary confinement facilities were inadequate for large families. An older child prepares these four boys for a nap in a single bed; and (4) Workers finish the fourth wall of a barracks at Pomona Fairgrounds.