Barbara Takei

Barbara Takei is a Sansei from Sacramento, CA, who was raised in Detroit and attended Howard University, a historically Black college in Washington, D.C. Barbara Takei is CFO of the non-profit Tule Lake Committee. For the past decade she has researched and written about Tule Lake’s segregation history and served as an advocate and fundraiser for the Tule Lake concentration camp site.

Updated January 2012

politics en

Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity

Legalizing Detention: Segregated Japanese Americans and the Justice Department’s Renunciation Program - Part 5 of 9

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Western Defense Command Preparation for Individual Detention 

On December 17, 1944, Major General H. C. Pratt, Commander, WDC, rescinded the Mass Exclusion Order that ordered all Japanese Americans removed from the West Coast. Effective January 2, 1945, individual disloyalty, instead of race, would be used as the test for exclusion from the Pacific States. It also provided that “any person of Japanese ancestry about whom there is available information indicating disloyalty will continue to be excluded on an individual basis.”1

In the months leading up to the announcement ending Japanese American exclusion from the West Coast ...

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politics en

Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity

Legalizing Detention: Segregated Japanese Americans and the Justice Department’s Renunciation Program - Part 4 of 9

Read Part 3 >>

End of Army Occupation

The WRA and the Army had very different organizational dynamics, and their relationship was often tense and fraught with disagreement. Conflict over management of the stockade climaxed on May 23, 1944, when the WRA’s Board of Inquiry approved the release of two inmates, while the Army disapproved their release. After a conference between WRA and Army officials on May 24, 1944, Director Best, by letter to Lt. Col. Verne Austin, Commander, 752nd Military Police Battalion, Tule Lake, requested complete authority to control the stockade in order to prevent future disagreements. In ...

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politics en

Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity

Legalizing Detention: Segregated Japanese Americans and the Justice Department’s Renunciation Program - Part 3 of 9

Read Part 2 >> 

The Stockade: Symbol of the Worthlessness of U.S. Citizenship

With the Center’s elected leaders imprisoned in the stockade, the stockade became the omnipresent reminder of the keepers’ arbitrary use of power at Tule Lake. It was an evocative reminder of the unjust post-Pearl Harbor roundups of Japanese American community leaders who were singled out and imprisoned, punished for their prominence and leadership.

In a 15-page letter written September 19, 1944 to U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle,1 a group of 27 inmates imprisoned in the stockade, who were later moved to the Department of ...

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politics en

Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity

Legalizing Detention: Segregated Japanese Americans and the Justice Department’s Renunciation Program - Part 2 of 9

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Martial Law 

With most of the elected Nikkei leadership imprisoned in the stockade, Commander Austin made plans for a mass public meeting on November 13, 1943 to be attended by the Army and WRA and the Negotiating Committee. This mass meeting never materialized as the prisoner population did not show up. Only the Army and WRA were present; they conducted their program without an audience. Commander Austin made proclamations to govern operation of the center, which, in effect, placed the Center under martial law.1 The Army then took over the camp with machine guns and tanks ...

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politics en

Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity

Legalizing Detention: Segregated Japanese Americans and the Justice Department’s Renunciation Program - Part 1 of 9

I hope this uniquely American story will serve as a reminder to all those who cherish their liberties of the very fragility of their rights against the exploding passions of their more numerous fellow citizens, and as a warning that they who say that it can never happen again are probably wrong.

—Michi Nishiura Weglyn, Years of Infamy

Among the many stories of Tule Lake, perhaps the saddest and least known is that of the approximately 5,500 Americans of Japanese descent who renounced their U.S. citizenship during World War II. At Tule Lake, 7 out of 10 citizens ...

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