Photo Description: San Francisco, Calif., Mar. 1942. A large sign reading "I am an American" placed in the window of a store, at 13th and Franklin streets, on December 8, the day after Pearl Harbor. The store was closed following orders to persons of Japanese descent to evacuate from certain West Coast areas. The owner, a University of California graduate, will be housed with hundreds of evacuees in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration of the war. National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the War Relocation Authority (210-G-A35).
Photograph by Dorothea Lange during assignment for the War Relocation Authority (WRA). Her images so clearly showed how racist and unjust the government's internments policies were that the government impounded the photographs. To see more photographs taken by Lange and others for the WRA click here (National Archives).
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt passed Executive Order 9066 which allowed the evacuating of persons deemed a threat to national security to relocation camps. This led to the internment of approximately 122,000 Issei - first generation of Japanese in the U.S., and Nissei - second generation born in the U.S. and citizens by birthright - for the remainder of World War II. Due to the internment, many lost their homes and businesses with a net loss of over $4 billion. Several bills aimed at restitution have been passed between 1948 through 1988
"Executive Order 9066: Resulting in the Relocation of Japanese (1942)." Ourdocuments.gov. National Archives and Records Administration. Web. 27 Apr. 2011.
"Lange Journey." Vanity Fair 555 (2006): 138. History Reference Center. Web. 27 Apr. 2011.