Protests against internment camps during World War II.

An Eloquent Baptist Protest Against Internment Camps During WWII 

An Eloquent Baptist Protest Against Internment Camps During WWII 

The Vault
Historical Treasures, Oddities, And Delights
Nov. 9 2015 10:46 AM

An Eloquent Baptist Protest Against Internment Camps During WWII 

This pamphlet, published by the American Baptist Home Mission Society in 1944 or 1945, pleads for "fair play" for Japanese Americans. The interior of the pictorial booklet argues the point on two fronts, excerpting arguments from national newspapers ("Leading Papers Speak Up For It"), then offering a spread of photographs of Japanese Americans working and playing alongside white Americans in various settings ("The People Practice It"). 

Historian Gerald L. Sittser writes that many American churches sympathized with Japanese Americans throughout the war. Although, he writes, "the churches failed to organize a unified protest of the evacuation during the first critical months of 1942," later "they did pull together to meet the practical and religious needs of the Japanese."

Besides lobbying the government to send internees home quickly, churches stored evacuees' valuable property, sent missionaries and supplies to camps, and helped young internees secure permission and funding to attend college. After the camps were disbanded, churches of various denominations helped former internees find jobs and reclaim property. 

Advertisement

A pamphlet like this one was intended to sway the opinion of Baptist church members, perhaps in order to gain support for those initiatives. 

I first saw an image of this document in a notice advertising a new exhibit, "Out of the Desert: Resilience and Memory in Japanese American Internment," at Yale University's Sterling Memorial Library. This set of images is from the Japanese American Relocation Collection in Occidental College Library's Special Collections; the pamphlet can be seen online at this link.

1ProJapanesePamphlet

Japanese American Relocation Collection, Occidental College Library Special Collections

2ProJapanesePamphlet

Japanese American Relocation Collection, Occidental College Library Special Collections

3ProJapanesePamphlet

Japanese American Relocation Collection, Occidental College Library Special Collections

4ProJapanese

Japanese American Relocation Collection, Occidental College Library Special Collections

5ProJapanese

Japanese American Relocation Collection, Occidental College Library Special Collections