JUNE 18, 2014

National Park Service announces $2.9 Million in grants to preserve and interpret World War II Japanese American confinement sites

Bookmark and Share

WASHINGTON – National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis today announced 21 grants totaling more than $2.9 million to help preserve and interpret the World War II confinement sites of Japanese Americans. More than 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were American citizens, were imprisoned by the U.S. government following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

“As America’s storyteller, the National Park Service is committed to sharing this tragic episode of our nation’s past and what it teaches us about the fragility of our constitutional rights,” Jarvis said. “These grants fund projects to help us gain a better understanding of the past, engage new audiences, and build new partnerships in the preservation of these historic sites and lessons they hold.”

Projects selected include the stabilization of the historic elementary school at the former Poston site in Arizona; an educational training program for 600 teachers across California on the local and national stories about the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II; and an exhibition exploring the significance of the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Japanese American veterans of World War II who served in the military while their families lived behind barbed wire.

The grant amounts range from $12,650 awarded to the Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress organization for a Speak Out for Justice DVD video series that highlights the testimonies of 157 people who spoke before the Los Angeles public hearing of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians in 1981, to $497,186 for the Topaz Museum to create exhibits for the newly constructed Topaz Museum and Education Center in Delta, Utah, located 16 miles from the Topaz incarceration site in Millard County, Utah.

The Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program, now in its sixth year, will support projects in seven states and the District of Columbia. The grants announced today total $2,905,000 and bring the program’s total awards to more than $15 million since Congress established the grant program in 2006. A total of $38 million in grant funds was authorized for the life of the program.

Grants from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant program can go to the 10 War Relocation Authority centers established in 1942 or to more than 40 other confinement sites. The goal of the program is to teach present and future generations about the injustice of the World War II confinement history and inspire a commitment to equal justice under the law. Successful proposals are chosen through a competitive process that requires applicants to match the grant award with $1 in non-federal funds or “in-kind” contributions for every $2 they receive in federal money.

A list of the winning projects follows. For more details about these projects, visit: nps.gov/hps/hpg/JACS/.