Monday, January 27, 2014

An education through books

In my last post, I mentioned David Takami's book, Divided Destiny: A History of Japanese Americans in Seattle (1998). This was the first book I read about the incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans. It serves as a fine example of the types of projects made possible by the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund, established as part of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. A CLPEF network website states the "CLPEF mission is to educate the public about the lessons to be learned from the internment." 

I was curious about Takami's connection to the forced relocation story. I emailed him with a few questions. He responded and explained his mother was from Honolulu. She came to Los Angeles to study fashion design while living with family friends and ended up in the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California for six months. "Growing up we knew that fact but she never talked about it at length," he wrote. "There was a book in our family library, America's Concentration Camps [1967], by Allan Bosworth that I read as a child. I learned much more about the incarceration in high school [Punahou School in Honolulu] and college [University of Washington in Seattle]. His formal education included lessons on this topic while mine did not. 

Our exchange reminds me of the vital role books play in education and that I need to read my copy of Bosworth's book. 

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