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From Concentration Camp to Campus: Japanese American Students and World War II
Item No.: 150867


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By Allan W. Austin.

In the aftermath of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and the systematic exile and incarceration of all West Coast Japanese Americans, the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council was born. Created to facilitate the movement of Japanese American college students form concentration camps to colleges away from the West Coast, this privately organized and funded agency helped more than 4,000 incarcerated students pursue higher education at more than 600 schools during World War II.

Allan W. Austin’s From Concentration Camp to Camps examines the Council’s work and the challenges it faced in an atmosphere of pervasive wartime racism. He also reveals the voices of students as they worked to construct their own meaning for their wartime experiences under pressure of forced and total assimilation. Austin argues that the resettled students transformed the attempts at assimilation to create their own meanings and suit their own purposes, and succeeded in integrating themselves into the wider American society without sacrificing their connections to community and their Japanese cultural heritage.

Austin’s analysis of the Council’s work provides an important perspective on the American home front, illuminating the worst and best of wartime America: not only the prevailing racism but also the efforts of a determined few to mitigate it.

Hardbound: 237 pp.

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