Courage and Compassion : Our shared story of the Japanese American World War II Experience
Albuquerque, New Mexico
June 1, 2019 – November 3, 2019 | Albuquerque Museum
New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League
How did Japanese Americans in the interior West survive WWII? What became of the Issei and Nisei (first and second generation residents of Japanese ancestry) who had pioneered the American West as railroad workers, miners, and farm laborers and had remained to build lives and raise families?
These are the stories of the small and scattered Nikkei communities that dotted the map of New Mexico in the 1940s: ALBUQUERQUE, the springboard from which stories of the past enlighten the present; the southeastern town of CLOVIS, close to the Texas border; GALLUP, in the western part of the state; and SANTA FE and LORDSBURG, two “towns” made up of Issei men incarcerated in Department of Justice (DOJ) prison camps. The arc of history is a leading player in these stories, reaching from 1942 to today. The plot contains acts of individual and communal kindness and courage alongside acts of violence and vigilantism. The cast of characters includes city council members and townspeople; offspring of DOJ prisoners and prison guards; descendants of New Mexico Japanese American “founding” families; a Medal of Honor veteran; and three survivors of a town that ousted their Nikkei in 1942 but celebrated their return in 2014.