Although food and shelter were provided and wages were paid to those who wished to work, living conditions were poor, and several riots occurred during the war. Separation of the loyal and disloyal began in July, 1943. Persons who could prove their loyalty and had employment waiting for them were released to live anywhere except in the proscribed area, while those deemed disloyal by the Federal Bureau of Investigation were segregated in the Tule Lake center. The majority of evacuees remained in the relocation centers until after Dec., 1944, when the mass exclusion orders were revoked. The last of the centers, at Tule Lake, was closed in Mar., 1946.
The WRA was terminated in 1946. The evacuees suffered property losses estimated at $400 million, and the government was severely criticized for depriving citizens of their civil liberties. In 1988, President Reagan signed a bill that granted the surviving Japanese-American internees a tax-free payment of $20,000 each and an apology from the U.S. government. The largest museum devoted to the history of relocation centers and an exploration of the realities of camp life is the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center (2011), a site near Cody, Wyo., where some 10,000 were held.
See A. Girdner and A. Loftis, The Great Betrayal (1969) B. Hosokawa, Nisei (1969) R. Daniels, Concentration Camps U.S.A. (1971) G. Miller, Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (1992) G. Robinson, By Order of the President (2001) R. Reeves, Infamy (2015) J. J. Russell, The Train to Crystal City (2015).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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