"Suffering Under a Great Injustice": Ansel Adams's Photographs of
Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar
Describe one or more aspects of the evacuation of Japanese Americans by writing a diary from the perspective of one of the Manzanar residents represented in the collection. Browse Born Free and Equal or search on portrait to select an image of a Manzanar resident. Before you write, think about how your perspective, as this individual, would have been different from other people's perspectives. Make a list of things that describe your character, such as your age, where you lived before the evacuation, what your job was or what grade you were in, your hobbies, and your personal qualities.
The diary could describe one or more of the following: the bombing of Pearl Harbor and its consequences, the evacuation of Japanese Americans to Manzanar, daily life at Manzanar, and the process of relocation. For an example of history portrayed through first-person accounts, read The Diary of Ann Frank. Use the following questions to help write your diary:
- How and when did you find out about the bombing of Pearl Harbor? How did you, your family, and your community react?
- What were the consequences of this attack? How did they affect you, your family, and community?
- When did you hear that you might be evacuated to an internment camp? How did this news make you feel? What kinds of questions did you have about it?
- What did you, and your family, do to prepare to move to this camp?
- When were you transported to Manzanar? What was that day like?
- What did you think of Manzanar when you first arrived there? What was your home like? What was the town like?
- How long did you live at Manzanar? What did you and your family members do while you were there? What was on your mind while you were living there?
- When did you find out that you might relocate? How did this make you feel?
- When did you leave Manzanar? How did you feel on the day of your departure? What was that day like?
- Where did you relocate? What did you do there? What was your new home and community like?