“Only What We Could Carry” was the rule, so we carried Strength, Dignity and Soul.
– Lawson Fusao InadaSo what happened March 24, 1942 on Bainbridge Island?
This is a handout with some primary source material and historical excerpts about the events that took place 70 years ago: OWWCCYou will find a larger collection of photos, artifacts and oral interviews about Exclusion Order No. 1 and Preparing to Leave Bainbridge Island at:
You have six days to settle all of your worldly affairs, leave behind everything except for what you can carry, for an unknown destination and period of time.
What would you do?Brief background about events that led to the forced removal to help orient students to this place in time:
“Bainbridge Island is located in Puget Sound in western Washington. To the south, it is a short 35–minute ferry ride to downtown Seattle, and to the north it is connected by bridge to the Kitsap Peninsula. During World War Two the only access to Bainbridge Island was by ferry.
In 1941 there were approximately 276 people of Japanese descent living on Bainbridge Island . Most were strawberry farmers. A few others owned small businesses. At that time Bainbridge was a small rural community with a diverse population (with total population of approximately 3000 full time residents).
During the war, the Navy regarded Bainbridge Island as a highly sensitive area. Fort Ward, a strategic military listening post monitoring communication in the Pacific, was located on Bainbridge Island. To the west were the Bremerton Naval Shipyard and the Naval Torpedo Station at Keyport. To the east were the Boeing Aircraft Company, Seattle shipyard, and Sand Point Naval Air Station. Bainbridge Island was selected as the first community to be evacuated and detained, most likely because of its close proximity to several military installations. Many also speculate that Bainbridge Island was chosen as the first "test" case because it is an isolated community surrounded by water. Terminal Island in California was evacuated weeks before Bainbridge Island but those Japanese residents were not sent to a relocation center. They were evicted from their homes and forced to live as refugees in the greater Los Angeles area.
In January 1942, the FBI began to raid the homes of the Japanese families living on Bainbridge Island. They were searching for and seizing war contraband. On February 4, 1942 the FBI arrested, questioned, and confined several Japanese Issei who born in Japan. President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, allowing for the creation of areas from which "any and all persons may be excluded." On March 24, Civil Exclusion Order No. 1 was issued, designating Bainbridge Island as the first area from which American citizens and their alien parents would be forced to leave. Islanders were allowed six days to prepare. On March 30 they were evacuated to the then called Manzanar Assembly Center (later became a Relocation Center.)”
[Excerpted from The Bainbridge Island Internment Experience Lesson Plan: http://www.bijac.org/index.
Attached Primary Source Documents
- Executive Order 9066
- Civilian Exclusion Order #1 for Bainbridge Islanders, posted on March 24, 1942 (jpeg of actual poster and pdf of text)
- Text from the War Relocation Authority handbook for “evacuees”, explaining what to bring and the conditions they could expect
- Photograph of US Army officials posting Civilian Order #1 on Bainbridge Island, March 24, 1942
Some important dates to set the chronological context:
· December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor attacked by Japanese Imperial Navy, US enters WWII
· February 19, 1942, Executive Order 9066 (by Pres. Roosevelt)
· March 2, 1942, Public Proclamation #1 issued (by Gen. Dewitt)
· March 24, 1942, Civilian Exclusion Order #1 issued on Bainbridge Island, WA (by Gen. Dewitt)
· March 30, 1942, Forced removal of Bainbridge Islanders
· April 1, 1942, Bainbridge Islanders arrive Manzanar Assembly Center, Independence, CA
Suggested Starter Reading
· In Defense of Our Neighbors: The Walt & Milly Woodward Story, by Mary Woodward (available locally)
· Prisoners Without Trial, by Roger Daniels
Suggested Documentary Films & Video
· Visible Target
· After Silence
· Behind Barbed Wire
· Red Pines *
· Island Roots *
· Fumiko Hayashida: The Woman Behind the Picture *
On-line oral histories from Bainbridge Island Japanese Americans available at BIJAC and Densho websites (see below)
· Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community www.BIJAC.org
· Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association www.Bainbridgememorial.org· Bainbridge Island Historical Museum,www.BainbridgeHistory.org
· Japanese American National Museum, www.JANM.org
· Densho, www.Densho.org
· Manzanar Historic Site, www.nps.gov/manz/
· *Stourwater Pictures, www.stourwater.com/
“Only What We Could Carry” Lesson Idea:
Ask students to put themselves in the shoes of a Japanese American youth their own age growing up on Bainbridge Island during the time of their forced removal. It’s March 24, 1942, Your family has just been given the Civilian Exclusion Order #1. You have six days to settle all of your worldly affairs, leave behind everything except for what you can carry, for an unknown destination and period of time. Ask students to create/keep a journal documenting what they and their families would do for the 6 days preceding leaving their home community. Invite students to bring the conversation home to their families and record their responses to what they would do in such circumstances. It could be an exercise in historical fiction, or they could take on the persona of an actual Bainbridge Island that lived through the experience. Ask students to address the many dimensions of this six-day window of time, not just about the material stuff, but the emotional, social, economic, cultural, and political conditions they might witness and feel over these six days.