Arline Moore


Name Arline Moore
Born November 30 1887
Died June 12 1969
Birth Location Hood River, Oregon

Hood River, Oregon businesswoman who actively supported residents of Japanese descent after World War II and chronicled nationally scrutinized local events by writing publicly.

Daughter of an early pioneer family in Hood River, Oregon, Arline Winchell was born on November 30, 1887, to Virgil and Margaret Winchell. Her father, reportedly the second white child born in Hood River County, was an orchardist committed to his community, serving on the school board and as a member of several fraternal organizations. Arline, the eldest of eight children, was also "involved in more activities than any one person should consider," according to a family history.[1] She married electrician Max L. Moore on July 19, 1913. When he established a new business site on east Oak Street in downtown Hood River, Arline joined him at work every day, answering phones, handling accounts, and greeting customers. She willingly assisted others, including members of local Indian tribes, who often asked her for help deciphering papers. Before and after World War II, Moore delivered clothing and other items to them at their fishing village near Celilo Falls, east of Hood River.[2]

Moore took her hometown to task for local citizens' widely publicized actions during World War II, decrying "one of the most shamefully un-American programs of persecution…ever witnessed in this Land of the Free." Members of the American Legion had blotted out names of Nisei soldiers from the downtown honor roll of GIs, and hundreds of locals' names had appeared in full-page newspaper ads claiming, "No Japs wanted here."[3] In a letter responding to The Dartmouth editor-in-chief, Moore reflected, "The fears and antagonisms of the general public were fanned to a white hot heat…." While she depicted "race baiting" as the aim of those who sought to have "Japanese people" removed to Japan, Moore also balanced those sentiments by recognizing pressures faced by some locals, since "two out of every three persons didn't care to refuse a neighbor…" As a downtown businesswoman, she was also aware not only of stores that refused to sell to Japanese but of boycotts against any who sold them goods.[4]

Undaunted in her support for those of Japanese descent, Moore provided a haven at Moore Electric Shop where they could congregate safely. When other merchants barred Nikkei from their stores, Moore simply collected their lists and shopped for them herself—despite her limp and use of a cane. First generation Issei (most who were not fluent in English) later spoke emotionally of Mrs. Moore's generosity and selflessness. Moore was active within the League for Liberty and Justice (a group of volunteers who assisted valley Nikkei) and served on the organization's central committee. It is also said that after Moore corresponded with author Pearl Buck, a local Chinese restaurant removed its anti-Japanese placard.[5]

While Moore was candid, even critical, in how she depicted her hometown's intolerance, she was also hopeful and eager for its redemption in the future. In "The Happy Ending: Return to Hood River," Moore commended the community's progress by 1951 when the Japanese Methodist Church held a chow mein dinner where 500 attendees represented "three Caucasian Americans to one Japanese American" with no evidence of race grouping. Moore championed the testimonies of 2,200 "boys" returning from the service, who had been loud in their praise of Nisei soldiers and had helped to turn the tide of community sentiment.[6] Six years after the war's end, though fewer than half the prewar Japanese had returned to the valley, she optimistically enumerated Japanese Americans who were members of local organizations, volunteer fire departments, sports and bowling teams, and as employees in a number of businesses across the community.[7]

An advocate for preserving her community's history, Arline Moore also supported relocating the county museum inside the new courthouse and maintaining the Pine Grove Butte Cemetery.[8] The mother of two daughters, Florence (Olmstead) and Barbara (Weygandt), she died on June 12, 1969. Japanese Americans spoke admiringly of Mrs. Moore, who, while observing in 1951 that "sane thinking has been reestablished" in Hood River, also prophetically cautioned that "we have still a long road to travel before this 'anti' canker is eliminated from the American way of life."[9]

Authored by Linda Tamura

For More Information

Hood River County Historical Society. History of Hood River County, Oregon, 1852 – 1982. Hood River, Ore.: Hood River Historical Society,1982, 402.

Moore, Arline Winchell. "The Happy Ending: Return to Hood River." Pacific Citizen, Dec. 22, 1951, 26, 31.

———. "Hood River Redeems Itself." Asia and the Americas, July 1946, 316–17.

Tamura, Linda. The Hood River Issei: An Oral History of Japanese Settlers in Oregon's Hood River Valley. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

———. Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence: Coming Home to Hood River. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012.

Arline Ethel Winchell Moore (1887-1969). Find A Grave Memorial.

Footnotes

  1. Hood River County Historical Society, History of Hood River County, Oregon, 1852-1982 (Hood River, Ore.: Hood River Historical Society, 1982), 402.
  2. Arline Ethel Winchell Moore (1887-1969), Find A Grave Memorial, http://www.findagrave.com/cgibin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=30580468.
  3. Arline Winchell Moore, "Hood River Redeems Itself," Asia and the Americas, July 1946, 316.
  4. Mrs. Max L. Moore, letter to Howard D. Samuel, Editor-in-Chief, The Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, April 15, 1947, 2–3.
  5. Linda Tamura, The Hood River Issei: An Oral History of Japanese Settlers in Oregon's Hood River Valley (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993), 241–42, 316. Pearl Buck was a humanitarian and Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author whose novels, including The Good Earth, centered on China.
  6. Arline Winchell Moore, "The Happy Ending: Return to Hood River," Pacific Citizen, Dec. 22, 1951, 31; Linda Tamura, Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence: Coming Home to Hood River (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012), 167, 203.
  7. Moore, "Happy Ending," 31.
  8. Hood River County Historical Society, History of Hood River County, 402.
  9. Moore, "Hood River Redeems Itself," 317.