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Members from the JACL Midwest Office along with the JACL Education committee pose for a group photo during their teacher training program. Photo: Courtesy of Greg Marutani

By JACL National Staff

National JACL, through its Midwest Office in Chicago has been awarded a grant in the amount of $165,831 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct two educational conferences for teachers on the Japanese American incarceration during the summer of 2016.

Titled Civil Liberties in Times of Crisis: The Japanese American Internment, the project will provide an opportunity for middle and high school teachers from throughout the United States to participate in intensive sessions about the incarceration. Conference presenters will include Dr. Lane Hirabayashi and Dr. Valerie Matsumoto from UCLA, Dale Minami, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, John Tateishi, June Aoki Berk, Minoru Tonai, Sharon Ishii-Jordan, and Greg Marutani.

The presenters will cover a range of topics about the incarceration, including its psychological impact, its constitutional significance, the Redress Movement, the military accomplishments of Japanese Americans, and personal accounts including resistance. Participants will visit the Japanese American National Museum, tour Historic Little Tokyo, visit the section of Santa Anita Race Track that served as a detention facility, and visit Manzanar National Historic Site.

Co-directors for the project are Christine Munteanu, JACL Assistant Program Director and Bill Yoshino, JACL Midwest Director. In commenting on the significance of the grant, Yoshino noted, “the funds from NEH provide JACL an opportunity to deliver its message to educators that the tragic experience of Japanese Americans during World War II should be a required lesson for all students.” Munteanu added, “This immersive training will allow educators to recognize full impact of the incarceration experience while also exploring its nuances and ongoing significance. We’re grateful to NEH for this opportunity.”

The grant is provided from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Education, Landmarks of American History and Culture: Workshops for School Teachers.