The Go For Broke National Education Center announced May 19 that it has received a $50,000 grant from the California State Library’s California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, which works to remind Californians of the civil liberties violations suffered by Japanese Americans during World War II.
The grant will enable GFBNEC to transcribe a series of audiovisual oral histories from its Hanashi Oral History Collection for integration into lesson plans and a public program that will be offered free to public schools.
The Hanashi (Japanese for “talk” or “story”) Oral History Collection captures the first-hand accounts of Japanese American veterans of WWII who served in segregated military units throughout Europe and the Pacific.
It represents the nation’s largest audiovisual collection of Nisei veterans’ life histories, with more than 1,200 interviews of veterans from the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service and related units.
The unique oral histories recall Nisei soldiers’ lives before the war; the military and combat experience; the incarceration of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast; and the rebuilding of communities and neighborhoods following military service and incarceration.
“These intensely personal oral histories reflect on the hysteria, bigotry and flawed public policy that forever changed the lives of Japanese Americans during World War II,” said Mitchell T. Maki, GFBNEC’s president and CEO. “We continue to debate many of these important issues today — national security versus individual freedoms, the civil liberties of American citizens and the need to protect the rights of individuals from all religious and cultural backgrounds.
We’re grateful for this opportunity, made possible by the California State Library, that will help us educate students about the Nisei soldiers’ experiences and their lasting contributions to our democracy.”
The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, created in 1998, provides support for projects and activities to ensure that the events surrounding the exclusion, forced removal and incarceration of people of Japanese ancestry during WWII will be remembered and understood.