Dorothea Lange and Japanese Internment

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Anchor Editions has some wonderful primary source photographs of the process of Japanese American Internment, taken by none other than the photographer Dorothea Lange. Unlike many of Lange’s other images, these works are not well known–by design. Until 2006, they were quietly kept in the National Archives, unpublished.

This material makes an excellent companion to the curricular material highlighted in our previous post.

Particularly chilling are these words from General DeWitt, justifying the internment action. Emphasis ours:

…It, therefore, follows that along the vital Pacific Coast over 112,000 potential enemies, of Japanese extraction, are at large today. There are indications that these are organized and ready for concerted action at a favorable opportunity.

The very fact that no sabotage has taken place to date is a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken.

— General John L. DeWitt, head of the U.S. Army’s Western Defense Command

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