A Japanese American wrote to the President of the United States during and after WWII. Project and read this holiday card and letter in the classroom from Mrs. Tsukamoto to the Roosevelts. Create a timeline of the events she mentions, discuss what occurred in her life, what living in the camps was like, and how the writer felt about her experiences.
Then ask the students to put themselves in the shoes of a Japanese American citizen incarcerated during WWII and have them write a letter to the President or one of their representatives in Congress or the Senate to help with the situation. If you need more information about what life in the WRA camps was like, see Activity 6.
- After all Mrs. Tsukamoto when through during WWII, are you surprised by her faith in democracy and appreciation of America? Would you have been able to stay this positive?
- What impact did the President, Congress, and Courts have on people of Japanese ancestry during WWII? Use the reading assignment, timeline, and guiding questions to discuss how the three branches of the U.S. government interacted and influenced this wartime experience.
- What are the ways that you can disagree with the policies of the U.S. government? Refer to the Bill of Rights and earlier activity to provide evidence in your letter to your government representatives.
- Knowing that Executive Order 9066, which stimulated the mass removal, was preceded by a resolution signed by every member of Congress from the west coast calling for the immediate evacuation of all persons of Japanese lineage, what kind of reception do you think your letter will get and how might your representatives respond?