Remembering Japanese American internment in Stockton

By Kat Elliott

Day of Remembrance

DoR image

Grace Kaneda and Kanegai sisters, 1942. Holt-Atherton Special Collections.

On February 19, 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized the relocation of over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry from Pacific coast states to War Relocation Centers. This day has been memorialized as the Day of Remembrance, a day intended to commemorate the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Previous to internment in relocation camps, Japanese Americans were sent to one of fifteen detention centers managed by the Wartime Civil Control Administration. One of these assembly centers was located in Stockton, at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds, in which 125 barracks were assembled in the racetrack infield, along with 40 more east of the fairgrounds. A total of 4,390 people were confined at the Stockton Assembly Center before eventually being relocated to internment camps in Rohwer, Arkansas or Gila River, Arizona.

University of the Pacific’s Holt-Atherton Special Collections hosts several collections detailing the relocation and internment experiences of Japanese-Americans, with a focus on San Joaquin County evacuees. The largest collection in San Joaquin County, visitors can read first-hand accounts and view photographs of experiences in the various camps. Visit the collection online.

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