Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

May 20, 2003

Spokane Public Radio to Air Documentary on Japanese Americans' Experience
in Eastern Washington During WWII

An audio documentary, From Coast and Camp to the Inland Empire, which chronicles the experience of Japanese Americans' evacuation and relocation to Eastern Washington during World War II, will air on Monday, May 26, at 7 p.m. on Spokane Public Radio station KPBX 91.1 FM.

The documentary, which was produced by the Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith and Learning at Whitworth College, features oral-history interviews, narration and music that chronicle the journeys of Japanese Americans from the West Coast to Eastern Washington. During World War II, 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were forced from their homes into internment camps. Two-thirds of those incarcerated were American citizens. However, a small percentage of people - fewer than 10 percent - were allowed to remain outside the camps.

The documentary tells the story of Japanese Americans living in Western Washington who were affected by evacuation, internment and relocation during World War II, yet were incarcerated only briefly, if at all. Utilizing the voices of Japanese Americans who lived through this experience, the documentary constructs a snapshot of Japanese-American life in the pre-, mid-, and post-war years, with a focus on the importance of family and community connections, the impact of evacuation and relocation, the subtle and public forms discrimination may take, and the positive and negative experiences of living in Eastern Washington during the war. Its purpose is to educate students and the community about historical violations of civil rights in order to ensure that similar violations may be prevented in the future.

The documentary was created by the co-directors of Whitworth's Japanese-American oral-history archive project: Rose Sliger, program assistant for the Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith and Learning and a 2002 Whitworth alumna, and Janet Hauck, archivist for Whitworth College.

For the oral-history project, Sliger has been gathering oral histories from Japanese Americans who relocated from Western Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska to the Inland Northwest during World War II. Many of the people Sliger interviewed were able to avoid internment due to their wartime student status at Whitworth, Gonzaga University, and Washington State University.

To learn more about Whitworth's Japanese-American oral-history archive project, visit www.whitworth.edu/Library/Archives/CurrentProjects/Coast&Camp. The project is funded through the Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program, which is part of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.


Rose Sliger, program assistant, Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith and Learning, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3774 or rsliger@whitworth.edu.

Janet Hauck, college archivist, Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith and Learning, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4751 or jhauck@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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