Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Henry Miyatake Interview II
Narrator: Henry Miyatake
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 4, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mhenry-02-0016

HM: My term paper was, "American Democracy and What It Means to Me." And it was a collection of all my frustrations about being in the camp, and all the things that really caused me concern about what was happening to us. And it was thirteen pages of stuff that I wrote. [Laughs] And you know, it referred to the screwball things that the Truman investigating committee did to us and their reports and everything about the, the treatment of blacks in the South, and I wrote down all my frustrations in there. And Miss Amerman called me one day after class and said she can't accept this paper.

She said that you know, "We've taught you the civics in this class and I was expecting a paper that would, say, you know, that you empathized with the way that the class was taught and the principles that we were given. And I thought you would give me a paper that would be something that would reflect that. And here you're trying to completely upturn this whole thing that we're trying to educate you on." And she says, "I'm very disappointed in you." So odd, this was a kind of change I thought gee, she'd be happier than heck to see it. And so I said, "Well I don't think I did anything wrong. I think I was within the context of what you asked for in the term paper." And she says, "Well unless you rewrite it. I'm not going to accept it." And at that time -- going back to the school regulation -- if you had one F, you got all F's. So she said, "You know what's going to happen. If you can't, if I don't accept your term paper and I give you an F for incompletion and unsatisfactory work, that means that you're going to get all your junior year for this semester is going to be all F's. And you're not going to graduate." I had enough credits to graduate at that point. And she says, "You know, I've been watching you all the three years that we've been in the student council and you've been... I've seen you change from a very good student to which I consider not a good student" -- in her definition. And she tried to give me counsel. She was very... she was doing it for my own good. And I was, at that point, I thought to myself, "I've been suckered into the student council and did all this stuff and I'm not gonna take it anymore." I guess that was in the back of my mind too. So -- no, this is my paper, that's it. And she says, "You know, you're gonna have to think it over because this is a very important decision you have to make." And she'd read it all. But I decided I'm not gonna rewrite it. [Laughs]

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