Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Manzanar Dedication 9/17

Guard Tower under construction at Manzanar NHS
(NPS photo)

Manzanar National Historic Site News Release
Contact: Alisa Lynch or Gretel Enck
Phone: (760) 878-2194 or (760) 878-2932


In summer 1942, shortly after ten thousand Japanese Americans arrived at Manzanar War Relocation Center, the U.S. Army constructed eight 37-foot-high guard towers around the perimeter of the mile-square camp. Each tower was equipped with a search light and machine gun and staffed by Military Police. Today, National Park Service employees are reconstructing one of the towers in its historic location on the east boundary of the site.

On Saturday, September 17, 2005, the National Park Service and Friends of Manzanar will host a dedication event at 11:00 a.m, near the guard tower. Following the ceremony, Manzanar History Association (MHA) will provide light refreshments and members of the Grateful Crane Ensemble will perform 1940s songs from their recent Camp Dance CD.

At 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., MHA will host a talk, reading and booksigning by critically acclaimed poet Lawson Fusao Inada. A third generation (Sansei) Japanese American who was interned with his family during World War II, Inada is currently a professor of English at Southern Oregon University. Considered by some to be the father of Asian-American literature, Inada's recent works include Legends From Camp, Drawing The Line, and Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience. Mr. Inada will be available to sign books between his readings.

From 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Jennifer Anderson, a studio artist employed by Hiromi Paper International in Santa Monica, will demonstrate traditional Japanese bookbinding techniques. The bindings known as yotsume toji and daifuku cho use only four and two holes respectively, are simple and elegant and have been used for a variety of purposes from novels to ledgers. These books can be made from a variety of papers with simple tools. Ms. Anderson has a Masters of Fine Arts in printmaking and bookarts from the University of Georgia and has taught art at Indiana State University and Clemson University.

Funding to reconstruct the guard tower was provided by the National Park Service, with a generous grant from Friends of Manzanar, a non-profit organization established in 2004 to support projects at Manzanar through financial and in-kind donations. In addition to assisting with the guard tower reconstruction, Friends of Manzanar is raising funds to rehabilitate a World War II era mess hall at Manzanar and to preserve and restore other site features.

The events are free and open to the public. Manzanar National Historic Site is located along U.S. Highway 395, six miles south of Independence, California and nine miles north of Lone Pine. For more information on the guard tower reconstruction and programs and projects at Manzanar, please visit our website at www.nps.gov/manz/ or call (760) 878-2194 or (760) 878-2932.

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