Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II at International Center of Photography, January 26 – May 6, 2018

“Seventy-six years ago, in the name of national security, the US government incarcerated 120,000 American citizens and legal residents without due process and absent the constitutional protection to which they were entitled. Following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, the United States entered World War II. On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 declaring certain West Coast areas to be military zones, setting in motion the forced removal and imprisonment of all people of Japanese ancestry (citizens and noncitizens alike) living on the West Coast. Though Pearl Harbor instigated this process, its swift acceptance and implementation followed many years of anti-Asian sentiment and racist immigration laws. Owing to fear, hysteria, and racism, and despite evidence to the contrary, the loyalties of all Japanese Americans and their families were questioned, and they were punished simply for looking like the enemy. From 1942 to 1946, incarceration camps located in desert and swamp areas in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming, with armed guards, watch towers, and barbed wire, served as ‘home’ for thousands.

This exhibition shares this important and painful episode in America’s past and honors those who endured this humiliation. Many who lived through the camps, as well as their families, remain determined to share their stories in order to educate the public and ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.” — ICP

Dorothea Lange, San Francisco, California, April 20, 1942. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.

Installation view “WRA Photography and Dorothea Lange”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

Dorothea Lange, Oakland, California, March 13, 1942. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.

Dorothea Lange, San Francisco, California, April 11, 1942. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.

Installation view “Clem Albers”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

Clem Albers, Owens Valley, California, April 2, 1942. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.

Clem Albers, San Pedro, California, April 5, 1942. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.

Clem Albers, Arcadia, California, April 5, 1942. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.

Installation view “Dorothea Lange”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

Dorothea Lange, San Francisco, California, April 25, 1942. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.

Dorothea Lange, Turlock, California, May 2, 1942. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.

Dorothea Lange, Centerville, California, May 9, 1942. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.

Dorothea Lange, Woodland, California, May 20, 1942. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.

Installation view “Ansel Adasm View”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

Ansel Adams, Owens Valley, California, 1943. Courtesy Library of Congress

Ansel Adams, Catherine Natsuko Yamaguchi, from the series Manzanar, 1943. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Ansel Adams, Jimmie Shohara, from the series Manzanar, 1943. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Ansel Adams, Owens Valley, California, 1943. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Installation view “Toyo Miyatake’s View”. Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

Toyo Miyatake, Hand and Barbed Wire, ca. 1944. Courtesy Toyo Miyatake Studio.

Toyo Miyatake, Memorial Service, July 1944. Courtesy of Toyo Miyatake Studio.

Toyo Miyatake, Toy Loan Center, ca. 1944. Courtesy Toyo Miyatake Studio.

The exhibition was organized by Alphawood Exhibitions in collaboration with the Japanese American Service Committee and was made possible through the generosity of Alphawood Foundation Chicago.

Curatorial Committee: Staci Boris, Richard Cahan, Claire Fey, Anthony Hirschel, Karen Kanemoto, Jane Kenamore, Jean Mishima, Megan Moran, Anna Takada, Joseph Varisco, Roy Wesley (Uyesugi), Michael Williams, Ryan Masaaki Yokota.

Title photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.