Making a Neighborhood:
Exclusion and Community in J-Flats, Los Angeles
For African Americans and Japanese Americans in Los Angeles before World War II, many neighborhoods were off limits. Restrictive covenants prevented them from buying land in white neighborhoods, and redlining limited their abilities to get loans and insurance. That forced them to look out for each other in the neighborhoods they shared.
One such neighborhood was East Hollywood, also known as J-Flats. There emerged an inspirational alliance between the African American Marshall family and their Japanese American neighbors. When families such as the Hoshizakis and Kakibas were forced from their homes and incarcerated at Heart Mountain, the Marshalls watched over their property and belongings, so that they had homes and possessions waiting for them after the war.
Our new exhibit features the remarkable story of the J-Flats community, and shows how our racial and ethnic differences do not have to divide us. The Marshall family has shown that allies can transcend language and race.
Parallel Barbed Wire:
From Heart Mountain to Dachau
Parallel Barbed Wire: From Heart Mountain to Dachau explores the story of the unlikely meeting between Clarence Matsumura, a Heart Mountain incarceree who joined the segregated 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, and Solly Ganor, a Lithuanian Jew who experienced persecution, ghettoization, and concentration camps. Many people are aware of the incarceration of Japanese Americans in the United States and the Holocaust in Europe. However, not many people know that these histories intersected for a short period in April and May 1945. The connection between Clarence and Solly sheds light on the little-known history of Japanese American liberation of the Dachau subcamps and death march.
Bob Kuwahara & the Nisei Animators
In 1959, a cartoon mouse named Hashimoto-San stepped onto the silver screen for the very first time. He wasn’t destined for celebrity—like that other mouse—but to his creator, Bob Kuwahara, he was everything. Bob had been an animator in some of America’s biggest cartoon studios before World War II, but that all changed when he and 120,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated in 1942. Learn how Bob and other Japanese American animators like Willie Ito and Gyo Fujikawa used their talents to help bring a little laughter into the lives of incacerees and eventually go on to create some of the most iconic scenes in animation history.
This exhibit was made possible with partial funding by Wyoming Humanities.
Dusted Off: Recent Acquisitions
When camp closed in November 1945, the government moved quickly to erase the Heart Mountain camp from the landscape. Today, the memory of camp lives on through physical items that were created, used, and saved by the 14,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated here and the white staff employed by the War Relocation Authority. The staff at Heart Mountain Interpretive Center works to unlock the stories contained in each artifact. The items in this exhibit were collected within the past two years, and represent only a fraction of the Heart Mountain collection.
History Often Rhymes
COVID-19 and the Racialization of Disease
History Often Rhymes: COVID-19 and the Racialization of Disease explored the parallels of past outbreaks with the current pandemic and the roles race, discrimination, scapegoating, and perceived foreignness play in reactions to public health threats.
“History doesn’t repeat, but it often rhymes.” We like to believe that something like the incarceration of Japanese Americans could never happen again. But times of crisis, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, often result in discrimination and attacks on Asian Americans and other minority groups. Old prejudices can suddenly reemerge under fear, anger, and stress. In our country’s history, immigration, race, and disease have always been intertwined. Remembering that can help us to avoid making the same mistakes again.
Heart Mountain Barracks in the Bighorn Basin
Incarceration in Focus
A Comparative Look at the Photographs of Ansel Adams and Yoshio Okumoto
The Fabric of Memory
Textile art inspired by the experiences of Heart Mountain incarcerees