No "Fun Friday" today.
Alva Day's "autographic" camera allowed him to inscribe his negatives with notes recording the time and subject matter. I frequently crop out the legend, but here it provides stark witness to the beginning moments of one of the darker periods in Hood River history. At 9:30 AM on May 13th, 1942 these Hood River residents of Japanese ancestry, under military guard, were loaded onto trains bound for internment camps in California and Idaho. When I first saw this image I was shocked at how undramatic the moment seems. Old men and women with tiny suitcases wait patiently in line, a handful of onlookers observe, a few guards stand by-- all with no outward signs of emotion.
You may have seen this image before-- in fact it is in the Hood River News this week. The Museum has shared scans of this print before, but I recently found the negative for this print as well as three other images that Alva Day captured that day. These negatives allow for much closer examination, with clear detail of faces visible for the first time in 70 years. There is a never before published image from 9AM, with people milling around the train station. At 9:30 the Japanese residents are lined up waiting to board. At 9:40 they are grabbing their suitcases and boarding the train. And several hours later, Alva Day shot a self portrait in his office. I wish I could tell you what he was thinking, but his face does not betray any emotion.
I'll post five more of these images later today. Hopefully they will help us better understand what happened here 70 years ago.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
Yes, a very dark day in Hood River History. My mother had a very special Japanes friend, her first friend in fact when she came to Hood River. She went to the train that day, possibly frowned on by some, but her friendship was a true and lasting one. Fortunately her friend did return to Hood River and their friendship only cemented solidly over the years. She was a lovely and special person to all of us who knew her intimately.
Charlott on 11th May 2012 @ 7:04am
I am glad you showed this Arthur.
Looking through old photos online, I was aware that Alva Day spent time taking photos on this day.
What was happening, was important to him. I wish I knew his thoughts.
And, I often wonder what my thoughts would have been during that time.
l.e. on 11th May 2012 @ 7:15am
As a Hood River County Deputy Sheriff at the time, I believe my father, John L., always regretted the part he played in relocating these residents of Hood River County. He related to me years later that he believed that those loyal to the Emperor had departed the valley well before Pearl Harbor.
How any of them were able to come back to the Valley to live is amazing to me.......
I had heard of the relocation trains with their covered windows but this is the first image I have seen.
I also wonder about what I would have been thinking and doing at the time. And yes, we need to remember and better understand.
Arlen Sheldrake on 11th May 2012 @ 8:31am
Arlen, around 1939, I was an 8th grade classmate of your Uncle, Leonard Sheldrake, at the HR Junior High School. Your father, John L. Sheldrake, must have been one of the sons of John H.(?) Sheldrake, who was in 1941 and for how many years thereafter, I don't know, but this John Sheldrake -- who must have been your grandfather -- was the Sheriff of Hood River County, not the "Deputy Sheriff".
In my view, your Grandpa John Sheldrake played a very significant role in the surveillance and the monitoring of the activities of the Japanese in the Hood River Valley.
And in my view,
Homer Yasui on 29th May 2015 @ 12:00am
A tragic scene to be sure. I am glad you have the courage to post it online and recognize it for what it is. One of many dark periods in American history where people who don't look caucasian were often treated like garbage and second rate citizens. That may sound harsh but it is the truth. I cannot think of a better way to prevent these events from happening again than to make sure we face the demons of the past and own up to it. Nowadays the extreme right of the political spectrum wants to ignore this part of history. They want to pretend it never happened and this will most certainly mean we are destined to repeat it.
Juan on 30th May 2016 @ 5:31pm
Last month I attended a history conference about a group of people known as the Volga Germans. In the late 1700's Germans had been invited by Catharine the Great to immigrate to Russia and farm the land along the Volga River. By the late 1800's things were not looking so good for many of these German families. Luckily, my ancestors immigrated to America.
Those that remained in Russia, were shipped to Siberia by Stalin in 1941. Very few survived.
L.E. on 3rd June 2016 @ 6:46am
I came across this photo of Mr. & Mrs. E.C. Smith of Hood River. I thought I would put it here as a reference link.
....Caption by Homer Yasui: "Ernest Chandler Smith and his wife Alice. E.C. Smith was an attorney, and he did all of our legal work, as he did for many other Hood River Issei Smith had verbally--not legally--defended Dad when he was in an internment camp; and he spoke sympathetically about the plight of the Nikkei who had been evacuated from our valley. From time to time he also shipped household items from our basement storage in the YB store to Chan, and maybe even to us while we were in the camps. [Some people] led by influential American Legion Post #22 leaders...started a campaign of villification against E.C. Smith. Not only that, they kept watch on his house to see if he was aiding the returning evacuees, which he did."...
L.E. on 3rd March 2017 @ 7:57am