Teaching Resources: 75th Anniversary of Executive Order 9066 (Japanese Incarceration)

Image from the Women’s March on 1/21/17

Sunday, February 19th is the 75th anniversary of the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 (in 1945) which led to the removal and internment of approximately 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry. Many of them were US citizens. Many of them lost property or were forced to sell at a loss when they were removed and relocated. I personally find “relocation” and “internment” misleading as people were incarcerated and given no choice about their removal from their homes.

Image credit: http://hdjapaneseinternment.weebly.com/uploads/6/8/7/3/6873644/9418554_orig.jpg

While this shameful occurrence in American history is and always will be relevant, it feels especially relevant today with the recent Muslim ban, fears of a Muslim registry, and frequent executive orders. You know your students and school best, so I compiled some resources to potentially use in the classroom. This list is by no means exhaustive, so please comment if you have other resources you’d recommend.

In our class, we will start with a sign in on our front board with images and the writing prompts “I think..” and “I wonder..” We will respond to students’ questions and clarify misconceptions.

Later, we will do a read aloud of A Fish For Jimmy by Katie Yamasaki. It has gorgeous illustrations and is a tale of an older sibling taking care of a younger sibling, so many of our students find the main character relatable.

We will also look as some images from this photo essay: Photo essay with some background information from the Atlantic

We will watch the video below by Frank Chi. This video is poignant and clearly makes the parallel to today without directly saying anything political. It’s worth watching yourself and sharing with others even if you don’t share it with your students.

Muslim Kids Read Heartbreaking Letters From WWII To Show How History Is Repeating Itself

Other resources:

Eight Essential Japanese American History Books for Young Readers

Life in a WWII Japanese American Internment Camp (educator resources from the Smithsonian Museum of American History)

Oral histories from of Japanese Americans from Telling Their Stories (Elders interviewed by students — this is a great resource for Social Studies teachers in general!)

Information about the Supreme Court case, Korematsu v. U.S., which legalized Japanese-American internment.

Zinn Education project related lesson and materials archive


Originally published at teachpluralism.squarespace.com.