Feeling prejudice while looking for jobs

Growing up in segregated schools Feeling prejudice while looking for jobs Joining the army Generosity of the Italians Animosity between the Hawaiians and the mainlanders Being scared during combat Never feared that he wouldn’t come back home On saving the Lost Battalion Coming home to his mother after the war Getting a PhD under the G.I. Bill Invited to teach at Harvard by his boss Feeling at peace with himself

Transcripts available in the following languages:

I went one year to junior college, but – and I enjoyed it very much – I got accepted to UC Berkeley, but then my parents said, “You know there’s not much future to go college,” – because you either had to become a doctor or dentist and work amongst the community, it was even difficult to get civil service jobs.

And I was quite good and I enjoyed repairing cars, driving them, “so why don’t you go to auto-mechanic school?” So, I went, learned the mechanic’s trade, and even then we felt prejudice because we couldn’t join the union. So you’re obliged to work in Japanese service stations or garages, which I did. I must confess it was rather boring. I was no future, perhaps someday I’d run a service station, or a garage, or something. But then the drafts came in 1940 and “wow!” (laugh)

Date: January 3, 2015
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Lily Anne Y. Welty Tamai
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

442nd education mechanics prejudice veteran World War II

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