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Fresno (detention facility)

US Gov Name Fresno Assembly Center, California
Facility Type Temporary Assembly Center
Administrative Agency Wartime Civil Control Administration
Location Fresno, California (36.7333 lat, -119.7667 lng)
Date Opened May 6, 1942
Date Closed October 30, 1942
Population Description Held people from Fresno and the surrounding area as well as other parts of the San Joaquin Valley
General Description Located at the Fresno County Fairgrounds in central California.
Peak Population 5,120 (1942-09-04)
Exit Destination Jerome, Gila River
National Park Service Info

The Fresno Assembly Center, built on the site of the Fresno County Fairgrounds just east of downtown Fresno, was populated from May 6 to October 30, a total of 177 days, making it one of the longest running assembly centers and the last to close. Its population came almost entirely from the Central Valley, including the city and county of Fresno as well as Kings County, Tulare County and part of the Florin/Elk Grove community south of Sacramento. Medium sized among assembly centers in population with a peak of 5,120, it was located only about twelve miles from the Pinedale Assembly Center . Nearly its entire population was transferred to the Jerome , Arkansas WRA concentration camp.

Site History/Layout/Facilities

The Fresno Assembly Center was built on the 160-acre Fresno County Fairgrounds site and two adjacent lots totaling sixty acres leased from private parties. The site was located just east of Fresno city limits and just twelve miles from the Pinedale Assembly Center. The camp was bisected by Butler Avenue—which was closed off while the camp was in operation—with the bulk of the residential barracks within the bounds of the fairgrounds racetrack north of Butler stretching to Ventura Avenue. The remaining barracks along with the outdoor recreational area were south of Butler. Later in the summer, a 3,000 capacity outdoor amphitheater inmates dubbed the "Hollywood Bowl" opened in this area. [1]

There were ten residential blocks at Fresno, each with around twenty barracks. Six of the blocks, designated by letters A through F, were within the boundaries of the racetrack, while four of the blocks, H through K, were located across Butler. (Block G, located south of the racetrack, but north of Butler, consisted of seventeen warehouse buildings.) Block A consisted of the bachelor's quarters and had only seventeen barracks buildings. While each of the other blocks had twenty barracks buildings, four of the buildings were set aside for purposes other than housing: three recreational buildings (B-20, E-1, and I-10) and a library/information building (E-11). Thus, there were a total of 193 residential barracks. Each block had its own mess hall, along with three latrine buildings and two bathhouses. There were three hospital buildings, five laundry buildings, and four administration buildings. [2]

The barracks measured 20' x 100' and were subdivided in most cases into five "apartment" units of varying sizes. As was the case in other confinement sites, the partitions between units did not go to the ceiling, allowing sounds to travel throughout a given barrack. Most barracks had wood floors, but some had either concrete or asphalt floors. Units had small screened windows. The only furniture provided were army cots equipped with canvas mattresses that inmates had to fill with straw. As at other assembly centers, there were daily head counts. In her memoir, Mary Tsukamoto wrote that these took place between 10 and 11 every night. "It seemed so unnecessary," she wrote. "No one ever talked about escaping. There was nowhere to go!" [3]

One of the pervasive aspects of the Fresno summer was the heat. Former inmates who lived in barracks with asphalt floors recalled that the legs of their cots would sink into the asphalt in the heat. Tsukamoto wrote that the "penetrating heat of the Fresno sun turned the asphalt into a soft substance by midday." She added, "[t]he floor sank when we stepped on it, and when we sat on our cots the legs penetrated the soft asphalt." In a 1980 oral history, Kikuo H. Taira remembered with indignation that electric fans were not allowed, because they would cause electrical fuses to blow out. In a May 26 report, Camp Manager Ellis Pulliam noted two heat related items among the three principal complaints of the inmates: a lack of drinking water facilities and a lack of shade. [The third was "some sort of bug in straw ticks [i.e. the mattresses] that bites the individuals"] Another inmate recalled that the only trees to be found in the camp were along Butler Avenue, making that a popular spot on hot days. [4]

Ten mess halls served the ten blocks. The mess halls were relatively small—a capacity of about 150—which resulted in meals being served in multiple shifts. Inmates sat at tables of eight. In a contemporaneous letter Minnie Umeda wrote of getting tired of "wenies and cabbage" and that the messhalls" have no sugar, so they use syrup instead of sugar in the coffee and grapefruit without sugar." Four days after Umeda's August 23 letter, a chef, Walter B. Lewis, was arrested by the FBI on charges that he stole food stuffs from the mess halls. One of the mess halls was also the site of a mass food poisoning episode in May, likely the result of improperly refrigerated food. [5]

Each block had three 8 x 16 x 7 latrines, "some [with] cement floors, others dirt floors," according to a May 26 report. The toilets themselves were a wood bench with holes cut into them suspended over a trough. Every few minutes, a can would tip, "flushing" the trough, a system found in a number of assembly centers. Many inmates recalled that whomever was sitting in the last seat would have to be careful to avoid getting splashed by the sewage filled water when the "flush" took place. The toilets were initially unpartitioned, but partitions were added later after much inmate objection. There were no doors or curtains in the front. Inmate complaints also led to the addition of toilet seats over the holes in the bench. [6]

Each block also had two 50 x 20 bathhouses. The shower room portion was 10 x 20 and had ten shower heads. In a May 22 letter, inmate Sam Nakano wrote that "today was the first time that I ever got warm water." The shower area had concrete floors covered by wood slabs. The wash basins were made of tin. As with the toilets, partitions were added to at least the women's showers later. [7]

The five 20 x 100 laundry buildings were spread throughout the camp. Each was divided into two sections with twelve double sinks each. [8]

Camp Population

Essentially the entire population of the Fresno Assembly Center came from Central California, with most coming from the city of Fresno, the rest of Fresno County and neighboring Kings and Tulare Counties, including the towns of Delano, Hanford, and Lindsay. The rest of the population came from the Florin/Elk Grove community south of Sacramento. The Kings and Tulare County group targeted by Civilian Exclusion Orders #44 and 45, about 1,100 people, were the first to arrive between May 9 and May 13. Next came the Fresno group, numbering about 2,700, from May 15 to 17. The Florin/Elk Grove group numbering about 1,200 arrived from May 27 to May 29. The peak population of the camp, 5,120, was recorded on September 4. [9]

Population by Exclusion Order
Exclusion Order # Deadline Location Number
44 May 13 West Tulare County 566
45 May 8 Kings County 584
62 May 17 South Fresno County 861
63 May 17 Madera and Fresno Counties, north and west of City of Fresno 539
64 May 17 City of Fresno 1,349
92 May 30 Amador and south Sacramento Counties 1,219

Source: John L. Dewitt, Final Report: Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast, 1942 (Washington D.C.: U.S. Army, Western Defense Command), 363–66. Exclusion orders with fewer than fifty inductees not listed. Deadline dates come from the actual exclusion order posters, which can be found in The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/jarda/ucb/text/cubanc6714_b016b01_0001_1.pdf and http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/jarda/ucb/text/cubanc6714_b016b01_0001_2.pdf .

Arrivals at Fresno
Arrival Date Number
May 6 20
May 7 9
May 9 106
May 10 201
May 11 3
May 12 476
May 13 411
May 14 2
May 15 766
May 16 983
May 17 878
May 21 1
May 22 13
May 23 5
May 25 1

Source: [Ellis P. Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, May 26, 1942, Report – Secretary of War, Fresno Center Manager, General Correspondence File, Fresno Assembly Center, Reel 313, NARA San Bruno. Note that the group from Florin/Elk Grove (Exclusion Order 92) arrived after this report was filed (starting on May 27) and are thus not represented in this table.


There were thirty-two births and twelve deaths during the life of the Fresno camp. [10]

Nearly the entire population of the Fresno camp was transferred to the Jerome WRA concentration camp in October. The first advance group of "volunteers" departed on October 2, with the rest of population leaving block-by-block starting on October 12. The final group departed on October 30 and were the very last group to leave any of the assembly centers. [11]

The lone group that didn't go to Jerome were about 150 TB patients and their families, who were sent to the Gila River , Arizona, WRA camp with the rationale that the desert conditions would be better for such patients. [12]

Transfers chart

Transfers to WRA Camps
October 2 advance group Jerome 202
October 12 Block A, part of B Jerome 463
October 14 Block K Jerome 472
October 16 Block J Jerome 466
October 16 Stockton + TB families Gila River 156
October 18 Block I Jerome 468
October 20 Block H Jerome 459
October 22 Block F Jerome 437
October 24 Block E Jerome 438
October 26 Block D Jerome 462
October 28 Block C Jerome 479
October 30 Block B Jerome 415

Sources: Fresno Grapevine , Oct. 7, 4 and Oct. 14, 1, 5; Dewitt, Final Report , 284.

Staffing

Ellis P. Pulliam, an engineer drawn from the ranks of the WPA, was the manager at Fresno for the life of the camp, starting with his arrival on April 15. Ernest Dunn, a Wisconsin native, was the assistant manager. [13] Other key staffers included:

Frank Goblirsch, head of Supply Section, who was born in Austria
Frank Bliss was the first head of mess and lodging. Upon Bliss's departure in mid-August, he was replaced by Clifton E. Snelson
Clinton H. Merrill was head of the Works Division, assisted by Jack Milloy
Douglas T. Cowart was head of finance; he was born in Glasgow, Scotland
Walter E. Pollock was head of the Service Division, which included hospitals, education, recreation, and religion
Carl Bengston worked under Pollock as the recreation supervisor. He had held the same position at Pinedale and came over after Pinedale's closure in July.
Charles Wheeler was the store manager
Max Armstrong was chief steward; he had held the same position at the Tulare Assembly Center
Woodrow W. Vaughn was chief of police; he was former chief of police of San Antonio, Texas
Chester A. Packard was the fire chief [14]

In 1943 interviews, two different inmates described Pulliam as "stern," "strict," cold," and aloof," while Dunn was seen as "sympathetic" and "friendly and outgoing." Inmates were also critical of Pollock, with contemporaneous accounts describe him as "unreasonable" and holding "a personal antipathy toward the Japanese people as a whole." [15]

As was the case with the other assembly centers, many of the staff members came from the WPA. Besides Pulliam, Dunn, Cowart, Goblirsch, Merrill, Pollack, and many support staff came from WPA District #4. [16]

Institutions/Camp Life

Community Government

After the last groups arrived at the camp at the end of May, the camp administration assembled an informally elected General Council made up of two members from each of the ten blocks. This council then elected a five-person executive board and a chairman of the board, Thomas T. Yatabe, a Fresno dentist who was one of the founders of the Japanese American Citizens League . According to Pulliam's June 23 weekly report, he met weekly with this executive board to "discuss the general operation of the Center and suggest such betterments or restrictions that they deem advisable." But, he added, "[t]he final decision on all matters rests entirely with the Management." Among the main charges of the council was to try to get inmates to take on the less desirable mess hall jobs and to maintain "cleanliness and orderliness of bath houses and latrines." [17]

After the WCCA abolished such councils in August, the administration instituted an election of a Japanese American Advisory Board in mid-August. The inmates elected a body of twenty-one that included fifteen Nisei and six Issei. According to Pulliam's October 6 report, the group met daily among themselves to help plan the move out and with administrative staff every other day. [18]

Education

Fresno had one of the more extensive educational programs among assembly centers with both a summer school program and an ambitious fall program in the camp's last weeks. The summer program began at the end of May when an inmate education committee formed and put together a school program in consultation with the administration. Inez Nagai, one of the few Nisei to have held a teaching position prior to the war (she had been a PE teacher at Edison Junior High in Fresno) became the inmate education head. Eventually, thirty inmate teachers were hired. Making do with a lack of supplies and classroom space—recreation halls were used for classes and some classes even met outside—along with discarded school books donated by the Fresno City Schools, classes for children and adults were held. A group of Girl Scouts also ran a nursery school. There were also adult classes; among the teachers were Mary Tsukamoto, who taught public speaking to high schoolers and English to adults, and Henry Sugimoto , who taught art classes. Later, classes in such topics as wood carving and business law were added to the adult program. Some 1,600 children and adults took part in the summer school program. The summer school program ended on August 29. [19]

After a three-week break, mandatory fall classes for elementary students began on September 21. About 850 enrolled. A warehouse building in Block G was converted into a school building with "a large assembly room and four separate classrooms." In combination with preschool and adult students, a total of 2,005 people enrolled in the fall educational program. [20]

As was the case with many other assembly centers, a graduation ceremony was held at Fresno for graduating high school seniors who missed their graduation ceremonies due to the mass incarceration. On June 19, a ceremony in the camp amphitheater was held for 144 high school graduates before a crowd of 3,000. [21]

Medical Facilities

Three barracks buildings served as hospital facilities: Hospital 1 was east of Block C; Hospital 2 was east of Block E, and Hospital 3 was across Butler Ave. between Blocks H and K. All were staffed by inmates, with Drs. Kikuto Koda, Kikuo Taira and G. Hashiba in charge of Hospitals 1–3 respectively. Since it was in the middle of the camp, Hospital 2 had the outpatient clinic and the dental office. [22]

In his May 26 report, camp manager Pulliam explained one hospital was used for communicable diseases, one for women and children, and one for men and boys, though he does not indicate which was which. He also wrote that "hospital supplies were very inadequate," initially and that they "still are handicapped by a lack of many essential items of equipment." He also noted the need for air conditioning in the hospitals. [23]

Library

The library was located in Block E, sharing a building with the Information Center. It was headed by Robert Kimura who had a staff of three assistants. The collection of about 500 books and several hundred magazines came via donations from both inside and outside the camp. A branch library opened in Block I on June 15 to serve those living south of Butler. [24]

Newspaper

The Fresno Grapevine had one of the longest runs of any assembly center paper, forty-four issues. In addition to the twice weekly newspaper, Grapevine staff members also printed various forms and announcements for the administration and produced a one hundred page yearbook titled Vignette upon the camp's closing. Ellen Ayako Noguchi was the editor throughout the paper's lifespan.

As with other camp newspapers, the Grapevine provided inmates with basic news about the camp—announcements of events, sports results, news of weddings and births, profiles of white administrators and inmate workers, and the like. It featured regular columns by Editor Noguchi ("Pineknot Portrait") and City Editor Richard Itanaga ("Between the Barracks") along with updates on other camps, editorials, and cartoons by Eddie Kurushima. Associate Editor Howard Renge handled the editorial page. The paper also printed various official pronouncement by Camp Manager Ellis P. Pulliam and other staff. Also as with other assembly center newspapers, the Grapevine was subject to censorship, which was acknowledged in a July 4 story about how the paper was put together.

The first issue of the paper was titled the Fresno Center News and appeared on May 23, 1942, seventeen days after the official opening of the camp. This first issue ran six pages, four in English and two in Japanese. Subsequent issues would include only English. With the second issue on May 27, the name Grapevine had been chosen, based on "a careful study of the 46 suggestions received." From the third issue, a six-page format was established that would rarely vary. One of the most stable of the assembly center papers, the Grapevine appeared regularly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. With the exception of the Japanese language staff that disappeared after the first issue, the rest of the staff remained nearly entirely intact for the run of the paper. Housed initially in a cramped space in the administrative section, the Grapevine office moved to a larger space in Section A in early June.

The editorial staff was very young and many had ties to the Japanese American Citizens League, including Noguchi and Itanaga, and reporters Fred Harada and John Hirohata. As was true for the population at large, most came from Fresno and the surrounding rural counties. Editor Noguchi, a native of Tulare, California, and well-known for her prewar contributions to the Rafu Shimpo and Nichibei Shimbun newspapers, was just twenty-two years old, while Itanaga, a Fresno native, was twenty-two and Associate Editor Howard Renge, a law student at the University of California, was twenty-three. Two of the reporters, Lily Koyama and Sam Nakagama (who wrote a weekly sports column) were just seventeen.

In a special two-page edition issued on Monday, September 28, the Grapevine announced that the Jerome, Arkansas, camp would be the destination of Fresno inmates. The remaining issues focused on the imminent departure, providing necessary information and looking back at the time at Fresno. The final issue of the paper was dated October 17, just under two weeks before the official closing of the camp on October 30. Additionally, the staff put out Vignette: A Pictorial Record of Life in the Fresno Assembly Center , an expansively illustrated (mostly with drawings by Eddie Kurushima) 100-page yearbook that reviewed nearly every aspect of life at the camp. [25]

Religion

Both Buddhists and Protestants had regular services on Sundays in two of the recreation buildings. According to a May 26 report, there were four Protestant and two Buddhist ministers and a combined total of 900 who attended the Sunday services. [26]

Recreation

Recreation programs were limited for the first month due to the lack of facilities. Given that facilities were initially limited to the recreation barracks and small playground areas, the May 26 report noted that, "[a]ctivities conducted to date consist mainly of social recreation programs including community singing, dances and talent programs, also semi-organized physical recreation." [27]

With the addition of facilities including baseball/softball fields, basketball and volleyball courts, and a sumo ring as well as the 3,000 capacity amphitheater in an area south of Butler, a fuller recreational program emerged. Under the leadership of a Baseball Advisory Board that included the legendary Issei pioneer Kenichi Zenimura , a six team "A" league and eight team "B" league formed. In the "A" division, the Florin team went undefeated at 13–0. Feature movie screenings in the amphitheater began on Aug. 20, with the first movie, It Started With Eve , drawing a crowd of 1,700. [28]

Store/Canteen

The camp store was located in a barrack building just south of the racetrack area—thus more or less in the middle of the camp—that it shared with the post office, occupying a 60 x 20 space. Managed by Charles A. Wheeler and with a staff of twelve inmates, the store opened on May 22. Popular store items included tobacco, candy, ice cream, cold drinks, and newspapers. Sales totaled about $15,000 per month. [29]

Visitors

The Visitors Reception Hall opened on June 11. Visitors were allowed only from 2 to 4 pm. In a June 12 letter, Sam Nakano wrote, "Visiting privileges being offered here as compared to some other centers is a farce." He added, "[o]nly 200 visitors a day are allowed within a space of two hours—60 persons every half an hour." Given the small barrack room set aside for visitors, the strong demand, and short hours, the visiting room was always crowded. [30]

Other

The camp Post Office occupied a 20 x 40 space in a barrack building shared with the store. A staff of ten sorted the mail there and subsequently delivered it to each barrack. [31]

Two information centers were set up after the first induction, each staffed by two clerks and three messengers. The lost and found was also run out of this office. [32]

The Fire Department was staffed by a chief and two assistants, all of whom were white, along with two Japanese American captains and thirteen inmate firemen. [33]

As was true at a few other assembly centers, some inmates from Fresno left the camp starting in June to harvest sugar beets in Montana, Utah, and Colorado. [34]

Perhaps alone among assembly centers, Fresno had an agricultural program that grew squash, radishes, and string beans that was distributed to camp mess halls. [35]

Because the camp remained open through the summer into the fall, Fresno inmates helped to clean up two other assembly centers upon their closing. At the end of July, sixty to eighty went to Pinedale, some working there for over a week. A work crew went to Tulare in early September for a day. [36]

Chronology

May 6
The first twenty inmates arrive.

May 14
Post office opens in the camp. The camp postmaster is Mas Kimura.

May 16
First Center "hop" held at Recreation Hall E under the supervision of Henry Yoshikawa.

May 20
300 people are struck down with food poisoning, all after eating at the same mess hall. The camp hospital and medical facilities are unable to provide care to this many patients.

"Whole block got sick because of the stuff that they served. And it wasn't the administration's fault. It was the inexperienced cook, preparing, then leaving food out in a hundred something temperature, because of inadequate refrigeration. Macaroni salad or something, that's deadly stuff in the summer. Well, anyway, people ate that and got sicker than heck. Thought some were going to die." [37]

May 23
First issue of Fresno Center News published. It becomes the Fresno Grapevine with the second issue, published on May 27.

May 25
First meeting of block representative held; Dr. T. T. Yatabe was elected chairman.

May 29
Instruction begins in elementary summer school at Recreation Hall 2 led by inmate teachers.

June 1
The camp library opens, with head librarian Robert Kimura. 259 books and 75 magazines checked out the first day.

June 5
The first 36 workers leave Fresno on short term leave to pick sugar beets in Montana. A group of 101 left to pick beets in Utah in September. 44 more went to Montana later in September.

June 11
Visitors Reception Hall opens. Outside visitors are allowed to visit between the hours of 2 and 4 pm.

June 16
The first wedding in the camp saw Mary Inada of Gilroy marry Henry Yoshikawa of Fresno, the ceremony presided over by Rev. C. Kai.

June 18
First adult forum held.

June 19
Graduation ceremony held in amphitheater for 144 high school graduates before a crowd of 3,000. Dr. Hubert Phillips delivered the graduation address.

June 28
A and B baseball leagues begin play.

July 2–3
East vs. West Sumo Tournament takes place before crowd of 1,500. The big match ends in a draw.

Aug. 19
Election for Center Advisory Panel takes place. Inmates over age sixteen are eligible to vote for the panel of 21. Out of the 32 candidates, ten were Issei and twenty-two Nisei.

Aug. 20
First movie screening, It Started With Eve , takes place at the Center Bowl at 8 pm.

Aug. 25
Fumiko Ichiba leaves the camp to attend college at the University of Denver, becoming the first such student to leave Fresno. She had been a pre-nursing student at Fresno State College. Two others are scheduled to leave the following week for the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Sept. 5
The entire camp was searched for contraband, the search extending from 8 am to 7 pm.

Sept. 9
Center Young Buddhists' Minstrel Show presented at the Center Bowl.

Sept. 21
The fall school term starts.

Sept. 28
Special issue of the Grapevine announces that the inmates will be transferred to Jerome starting on October 14.

Oct. 2
Advance crew of 185 leaves for Jerome. Regular groups of between 400 and 500 begin leaving for Jerome on October 12.

Oct. 17
Final issue of the Grapevine appears.

Oct. 30
The final group leaves Fresno for Jerome.

Quotes

"The attitude of the evacuees toward the program is very favorable. I believe that they are agreeably surprised at the type of treatment they receive and the quality and quantity of food provided."
Ellis P. Pulliam, 1942 [38]

"Welcome to your new temporary home. This Assembly Center is not an internment center in the usually accepted meaning of that term. This Center has been established in compliance with military necessity for the protection not only of the American people as a whole, but also for those who will occupy the Center."
Ellis P. Pulliam, in first issue (May 23, 1942) of the Fresno Center News

"Camp life is progressing along as smoothly as expected, if not better. The main reason for that is that the populace itself comes in the majority from the Central California region, where the people are more or less intimate and have been living in close vicinity for many years. The people themselves get along as one big, happy family."
[39]

"Visiting privileges being offered here as compared to some other centers is a farce. Only 200 visitors a day are allowed within a space of two hours—60 persons every half and hour." [40]

"Other than the extreme heat, most of us seem to be getting along quite well. All in all, I'd say that this was a model center, and the center administration can vouch for that."
Sam Nakano, 1942 [41]

"Well, every night, I can still hear the bugle from the grandstand, that was a curfew signal. The bugle would blow the Taps, and then we could hear people scurrying around to get back to the cabin. And of course, people who had to go to the outdoor community toilet, they were in trouble because the MP came and knocked on our door and opened it and put the flashlight into our faces and make sure all of us, nine of us, were in our room. So that happened every night."
Saburo Masada, 2004 [42]

Aftermath

Upon the closing of the camp, the property was transferred to the Fourth Air Force Technical Training Command on Nov. 9, 1942. [43]

Fresno Assembly Center was one of the twelve California temporary detention centers to share California Historical Landmark #934, so named in 1980. A California State Historical Marker was dedicated in 1992 at the entrance to the fairgrounds. [44]

In 2009, the local community undertook a project to expand and renovate the memorial/marker at the fairgrounds. The new memorial was dedicated on October 5, 2011. Located just inside the Chance Avenue gate, he $180,000 project includes storyboards and banners with historic photos framed with wood from the original barracks, as well as a wall on which names of former inmates are inscribed. Funding from the project came from a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education fund and local donors. [45]

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

For More Information

Burton, Jeffery F., Mary M. Farrell, Florence B. Lord, and Richard W. Lord. Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites . Western Archeological and Conservation Center, National Park Service, 1999, 2000. Foreword by Tetsuden Kashima. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002. The Fresno section of 2000 version accessible online at http://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/anthropology74/ce16a.htm .

Fresno Assembly Center video. Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages, 2018.

Kikuo H. Taira oral history by Yoshino Hasegawa, May 28, 1980 . "Success Through Perseverance." California State University Fresno. [Taira (1911–95) was one of the physicians at Fresno AC.]

Masumoto, David Mas. Gathering Before the Storm: Fresno Assembly Center, 1942 . Del Rey, CA: Inaka Countryside Publications, 1991.

Nakano, Sam, correspondence with Virginia Galbraith, May 15, to October 6, 1942 . Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study, University of California, Berkeley, call number BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder B12.43. [A Nisei from Fresno born in 1914 who was active in the JACL before and after the war, Nakano wrote to JERS research assistant Galbraith describing conditions at the Fresno Assembly Center throughout his stay there.]

Pinedale Memorial Assembly Center website: http://pinedalememorial.org/ .

Tsukamoto, Mary, and Elizabeth Pinkerton. We the People: A Story of Internment in America . San Jose: Laguna Publishers, 1987.

Vignette: A Pictorial Record of Life in the Fresno Assembly Center . Guy & Marguerite Cook Nisei Collection. University of the Pacific Library, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections. October, 1942.

Footnotes

  1. Note: This article draws heavily on records of the Wartime Civil Control Administration on microfilm at the San Bruno, California, branch of the National Archives and Records Administration. All of the cited records come the Fresno Assembly Center records on Reel 313. WCCA Press Release, Mar. 28, 1942, John M. Flaherty Collection of Japanese Internment Records San Jose State University Department of Special Collections and Archives, California State University Japanese American Digitization Project, accessed on Jan. 27, 2020 at https://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16855coll4/id/7255 ; [Ellis P. Pulliam], Initial Report (April 6 through April 30), Report—Weekly, Fresno Center Manager, General Correspondence File, Fresno Assembly Center, Reel 313, NARA San Bruno; Jeffrey F. Burton, et al., Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Site (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002), 352–53; Kenji Maruko Interview by Jill Shiraki and Tom Ikeda, Segment 17, March 9, 2010, Preserving California's Japantowns Collection, Densho Digital Repository, http://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-densho-1010/ddr-densho-1010-8-transcript-08fb786506.htm ; Mary Tsukamoto and Elizabeth Pinkerton, We the People: A Story of Internment in America (San Jose: Laguna Publishers, 1987), 104.
  2. Fresno Grapevine , June 3, 1942, 6 and Oct. 10, 1942, 1; [Ellis P. Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, May 26, 1942, pp. 1, 9, Report – Secretary of War, Fresno Center Manager, General Correspondence File, Fresno Assembly Center, Reel 313, NARA San Bruno.
  3. [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 9; [Virginia Galbraith], "Fresno Reception Center," p. 1, The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder B8.03, http://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/28722/bk0013c5g3x/ ; [Pulliam], Initial Report; Tsukamoto and Pinkerton, We the People , 86, 104.
  4. Tsukamoto and Pinkerton, We the People , 84; Ben Tonooka Interview by Martha Nakagawa, Segment 15, Los Angeles, Feb. 6, 2012, Densho Visual History Collection, Densho Digital Repository, http://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-densho-1000/ddr-densho-1000-390-transcript-33e54e0acf.htm ; Kikuo H. Taira oral history by Yoshino Hasegawa, May 28, 1980, p. 13, "Success Through Perseverance," California State University Fresno, California State University Japanese American Digitization Project, accessed on Jan. 27, 2020, https://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16855coll4/id/11365 ; [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 5; Private voluntary interview with Miss F concerning Fresno Assembly Center by Anne O. Freed, ca. Apr. 1943, p. 2, Community Analysis Reports and Community Analysis Trend Reports of the War Relocation Authority, 1942-1946, Reel 3, Washington, [D.C.]: National Archives, National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1984.
  5. [Ellis P. Pulliam], Weekly Reports, June 2, 1942 and Sept. 1, 1942, Report—Weekly, Fresno Center Manager, General Correspondence File, Fresno Assembly Center, Reel 313, NARA San Bruno; [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 8; interview with Miss F, 2; Letter, Minnie Umeda to [Margaret Waegell], Aug. 23, 1942, Japanese American Archival Collection, California State University, Sacramento, California State University Japanese American Digitization Project, accessed on Jan. 27, 2020 at https://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16855coll4/id/7360 ; Kikuo H. Taira oral history, 14; Sam Nakano letter to Virginia Galbraith, May 22, 1942, The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder B12.43 http://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/28722/bk0013c5k7p/ .
  6. [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 6, 9; [Galbraith], "Fresno Reception Center," 2; Ben Tonooka Interview, Segment 16; Private voluntary interview with Miss E concerning Fresno Assembly Center by Anne O. Freed, April 17, 1943, p. 1, Community Analysis Reports and Community Analysis Trend Reports of the War Relocation Authority, 1942-1946, Reel 3, Washington, [D.C.]: National Archives, National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1984; interview with Miss F, 2; Doris Nitta Interview by Richard Potashin, Segment 12, Aug. 10, 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada, Manzanar National Historic Site Collection, Densho Digital Repository, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-manz-1/ddr-manz-1-108-transcript-29331d4747.htm .
  7. [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 9; Letter, Nakano to Galbraith, May 22, 1942; [Galbraith], "Fresno Reception Center," 2; interview with Miss F, 2.
  8. [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 9.
  9. John L. Dewitt, Final Report: Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast, 1942 (Washington D.C.: U.S. Army, Western Defense Command), 227, 363–66; Fresno Grapevine , Aug. 19, 1942, 4; Sam Nakano letter to Virginia Galbraith, May 28, 1942, The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder B12.43, http://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/28722/bk0013c5k7p/ .
  10. Dewitt, Final Report , 202.
  11. Dewitt, Final Report , 282–84; Fresno Grapevine , Oct 7, 4 and Oct. 14, 1, 5.
  12. [Ellis P. Pulliam], Weekly Report, Oct. 6, 1942, Report—Weekly, Fresno Center Manager, General Correspondence File, Fresno Assembly Center, Reel 313, NARA San Bruno; Dewitt, Final Report , 284.
  13. Ayako Noguchi, ed, Vignette: A Pictorial Record of Life in the Fresno Assembly Center (Fresno, Calif.: October 1942), 5, 7; [Pulliam], Initial Report.
  14. Noguchi, ed, Vignette , 1–2, 11, 27, 33–34, 43–44, 53, 56, 60, 63; Fresno Grapevine , Aug. 8, 1942, 3 and Aug. 19, 1942, 4.
  15. Interview with Miss E, 2; Interview with Miss F, 3; Sam Nakano letter to Virginia Galbraith, June 29, 1942, The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder B12.43, http://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/28722/bk0013c5k7p/ .
  16. [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 1–2.
  17. [Ellis P. Pulliam], Weekly Report, June 23, 1942, Report—Weekly, Fresno Center Manager, General Correspondence File, Fresno Assembly Center, Reel 313, NARA San Bruno; Noguchi, ed, Vignette , 7; [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 9–10.
  18. [Ellis P. Pulliam], Weekly Reports, August 18, Aug. 25, and Oct. 6, 1942, Report—Weekly, Fresno Center Manager, General Correspondence File, Fresno Assembly Center, Reel 313, NARA San Bruno.
  19. [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 18; Terry Lee Marzell, Chalkboard Champions: Twelve Remarkable Teachers Who Education America's Disenfranchised Students (Tucson, Ariz.: Wheatmark, 2012), 191–92; Noguchi, ed, Vignette , 12–13; Tsukamoto and Pinkerton, We the People , 92–96; [Ellis P. Pulliam], Weekly Report, Sept. 1, 1942, Report—Weekly, Fresno Center Manager, General Correspondence File, Fresno Assembly Center, Reel 313, NARA San Bruno.
  20. [Ellis P. Pulliam], Weekly Reports, Sept. 1, Sept. 8, Sept. 22, and Sept. 29, 1942, Report—Weekly, Fresno Center Manager, General Correspondence File, Fresno Assembly Center, Reel 313, NARA San Bruno.
  21. Sam Nakano letter to Virginia Galbraith, June 18, 1942, The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder B12.43 http://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/28722/bk0013c5k7p/ ; Fresno Grapevine , June 20, 1942, 1.
  22. Noguchi, ed, Vignette , 16–20; [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 16.
  23. [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 16–18.
  24. [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 20; Noguchi, ed, Vignette , 26.
  25. Information in this section taken from Brian Niiya, "Fresno Grapevine (newspaper)," Densho Encyclopedia, http://encyclopedia.densho.org/Fresno_Grapevine_(newspaper)/ .
  26. [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 19.
  27. [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 18.
  28. [Ellis P. Pulliam], Weekly Reports, June 2 and Aug. 25, 1942, Report—Weekly, Fresno Center Manager, General Correspondence File, Fresno Assembly Center, Reel 313, NARA San Bruno; Tsukamoto and Pinkerton, We the People , 104.
  29. [Pulliam], Initial Report; [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 19, 21; Noguchi, ed, Vignette , 27.
  30. Noguchi, ed, Vignette , 32; Sam Nakano letter to Virginia Galbraith, June 12, 1942, The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder B12.43 http://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/28722/bk0013c5k7p/ ; interview with Miss F, 4.
  31. [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 20.
  32. [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 20.
  33. [Pulliam], Report to Secretary of War, 7.
  34. Fresno Grapevine , June 6, Sept. 12, and Sept. 19, 1942, all on p. 1; [Ellis P. Pulliam], Weekly Reports, June 30, Sept. 22, and Oct. 6, 1942, Report—Weekly, Fresno Center Manager, General Correspondence File, Fresno Assembly Center, Reel 313, NARA San Bruno.
  35. [Ellis P. Pulliam], Weekly Reports, Sept. 1, Sept. 8, and Sept. 22, 1942, Report—Weekly, Fresno Center Manager, General Correspondence File, Fresno Assembly Center, Reel 313, NARA San Bruno.
  36. [Ellis P. Pulliam], Weekly Reports, July 28, Aug. 4, and Sept. 8, 1942, Report—Weekly, Fresno Center Manager, General Correspondence File, Fresno Assembly Center, Reel 313, NARA San Bruno.
  37. Kikuo H. Taira oral history, 14.
  38. Ellis P. Pulliam, Report to Secretary of War, May 26, 1942, p. 5, Report – Secretary of War, Fresno Center Manager, General Correspondence File, Fresno Assembly Center, Reel 313, NARA San Bruno
  39. Sam Nakano letter to Virginia Galbraith, June 3, 1942, The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder B12.43, http://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/28722/bk0013c5k7p/ .
  40. Sam Nakano letter to Virginia Galbraith, June 12, 1942, The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder B12.43, http://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/28722/bk0013c5k7p/ .
  41. Sam Nakano letter to Virginia Galbraith, July 2, 1942, The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder B12.43, http://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/28722/bk0013c5k7p/ .
  42. Saburo Masada interview by Kristen Luetkemeier, Segment 8 Fresno, Sept. 11, 2004, Manzanar National Historic Site Collection, Densho Digital Repository, http://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-manz-1/ddr-manz-1-157-transcript-fec87c5273.htm
  43. Dewitt, Final Report , 184.
  44. Barbara Wyatt, ed., Japanese Americans in World War II: National Historic Landmarks Theme Study (Washington, D.C.: National Historic Landmarks Program, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 2012), 111.
  45. Samantha Masunaga, "Recalled Fresno Assembly Center," Rafu Shimpo , July 17, 2010, 1, 4; "Fresno Memorial Set to Open," Rafu Shimpo , Sept. 21, 2011, 1, 4; Pacific Citizen , Oct. 7–20, 2011, 10; "Fresno Assembly Center Memorial," The Big Fresno Fair website, accessed on Sept. 15, 2020 at https://www.fresnofair.com/p/education/museums/big-fresno-fair-museum/assembly-center-memorial .

Last updated Dec. 30, 2020, 8:39 p.m..