Humanities in Class: Webinar Series

Japanese American Citizenship in WWII: A Study in Color and Black and White

Lead Scholar: Eric Muller (Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor, School of Law, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

February 10, 2022

National Council for the Social Studies

When the US government forced American citizens of Japanese ancestry from their homes and into concentration camps in 1942, it pushed them into a binary world: Were their loyalties with America or with Japan? This black-and-white model concealed the varied, vibrant colors of Japanese American identities. An extremely rare cache of candid color photographs shot behind barbed wire by Bill Manbo, a prisoner, allow us to explore both the racist sterility of the government’s understanding of citizenship and the many-hued richness of Japanese American life and resiliency in the camps.

Subjects: History; American History; World War II; Japanese Internment Camps; Japanese Americans; Photography