Best of Slow Journalism: A history of an American concentration camp
Lately we’ve been reading a lot of Compass Cultura. This excellent online travel magazine publishes just three long-form articles a month, which are designed to be slowly digested.
For issue eight, freelance travel journalist and photographer Kyle Deas wrote ‘A Frozen Sadness’, a profile of Tule Lake in northern California.
On February 19th 1942, three months after the Pearl Harbor attacks, President Franklin D Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, effectively justifying the forced removal of Japanese Americans from their homes on the West Coast. A huge number of them were held at Tule Lake.
Deas revisits the vast expanse and speaks to key figures who still have a personal connection to the site (including Star Trek star and activist George Takei) as well as some of those invested in its regeneration. He guides us carefully through the history of its use, from its temporary role as a ‘Relocation Centre’ where “residents held dances, played baseball and had some amount of freedom to move around” to harsher times as a ‘Segregation Centre’ or ‘American Concentration Camp’, past the end of the war and slowly through to the present day.
This article serves as a reminder of a chapter of Western history that people have been all too quick to gloss over. You can read the full piece here.
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