In the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 on February 19th, 1942. This executive order designated military zones along the United States coast, and directed the army to remove all residents of Japanese ancestry from these areas. The president then created the War Relocation Authority (WRA), a federal agency tasked with caring for the approximately 110,000 Japanese-Americans uprooted by Executive Order 9066. The WRA saw to the planning and construction of long-term internment camps located in the interior of the country where the displaced population would be held for the duration of World War II. Two of the selected sites were located in the Arkansas Delta, one at Rohwer in Desha County, and the other at Jerome in sections of Chicot and Drew counties. The internment camps at Rohwer and Jerome would incarcerate over 16,000 Japanese-Americans between October 1942 and November 1945.
The materials in this digital collection were digitized by the Arkansas State Archives as part of the second phase of a joint project entitled “Rohwer Reconstructed,” overseen by the University of Arkansas’ Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies and funded in part by a grant from the National Park Service through the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program. Project contributors include: the University of Arkansas’ Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST); the UA Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture; University of Arkansas Libraries Special Collections; Arkansas State Archives; Arkansas State University; and the Central Arkansas Library System Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. The Rohwer Reconstructed site provides increased access for researchers, students, and citizens to the archival materials housed at the participating historical repositories. Primary source materials relating to Japanese-American internment in Arkansas from the Arkansas State Archives will be added to the Rohwer Reconstructed site in the coming year.
The Arkansas State Archives digital collection includes materials from school administrators and superintendents, pastors, teachers, social welfare workers and WRA administrators associated with the internment camps, Homer Adkins’ gubernatorial papers, articles from the McGehee Times and Dermott News, and the official closing roster of the Rohwer Relocation Center, and will continue to grow as more materials are added to it. The name of the collection, "You Fought Prejudice and Won," comes from the words spoken by President Harry S. Truman upon welcoming home the 100th Infantry Battalion, which was largely made up of Japanese-American soldiers and represented the first group of Japanese-American soldiers to see combat in WWII. The quote, "“You not only fought the enemy... you fought prejudice and won," is engraved upon the Go For Broke memorial honoring the soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion.
All materials within this digital collection are available for research at the Arkansas State Archives, One Capitol Mall, Ste. 2B-215, Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information on the Arkansas State Archives' holdings, please contact us at 501.682.6900 or by emailing email@example.com.