On a spring afternoon in 1942, Japanese American (Nisei) students in Seattle's Washington School said goodbye to their friends and boarded buses bound for a relocation center in Pullayup, Washington. Forced to bring only what they could carry, these students' families sold most of their belongings; they burned much of their personal memorabilia, for fear it would be deemed "suspect" by the FBI. Yet amid the tumult of their evacuation and internment, some students left a record of their departure in letters to their homeroom teacher, Ella Evanson.
These engaging letters, at the center of Yoon Pak's "Wherever I Go, I Will Always Be a Loyal American," document junior high students' response to the news of the impending internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. In their responses, these students reveal their complex relationship with their schools and their country at a time when their citizenship and patriotism were cast in doubt. Using previously untapped sources, Pak explores how Seattle schools dealt with the dissonance between the rhetoric of democracy and the anti-democratic practice of internment. Yoon Pak painstakingly chronicles these schools' struggle to maintain a tradition of tolerance in the face of the government's evacuation orders.
"This outstanding example of scholarship documents Japanese American junior-high students' struggle with societal and institutional racism. Pak's book is an excellnt resource for students and teachers in a variety of disciplines.."
-Valerie Pang, author of "Struggling to be Heard: The Unmet Needs of Asian PAcific American Children
"Yoon Pak presents a detailed picutre of Japanese Americans' experience inside World War II-era classrooms and skillfully documents this group's struggle to form an American identity.."
-Ruen Donato, author of "The Other Struggle for Equal Schools: Mexican Americans during the Civil Rights Era
"A must-read for those seeking to unedrstand the effects of war on the capacity of young people to make sense of the world.."
-Barbara Finkelstein, author of "Transcending Stereotypes: Dicovering Japanese Culture and Education
"That democratic ideals exist alongside undemocratic practices is not a new idea. Historically oppressed groups have known this all too well and for much too long. In "Wherever I Go, I Will Always Be a Loyal American, Yoon Pak documents one of the most disturbing and tragic cases of this disjuncture that can be imagined. Only it wasn't imagined, it happened. Theres much to be learned from the story Pak tells here, with skill and compassion, about what schools can do and what they cannot, the courage of young and old in the face of catastrophe, the persistence of racism amidst democratization, and the difference school teachers and principals can make.."
-Walter C. Parker, University of Washington, Seattle, is the editor of Education for Democracy, Information Age Press.
"Professor Pak's book is an outstanding work ofscholarship. Her text provides a comprehensive understanding of the historical, sociological and psychological context of the internment and its impact on junior high Japanese Americans. Pak's research carefully documents the lives of junior high Japanese American students from Seattle and their hard reality with societal and institutional racism. The voices of American-born children from the Nikkei community exhibit grave sadness and strain as they attempted to understand how their country which espoused the values of equality and freedom could have incarcerated them for no reason other than they were of Japanese ancestry. An excellent resource not only for professors in history, Asian American studies, ethnic studies, political science, and sociology, but also eachers.."
-Valerie Ooka Pang, San Diego State University
Series: Studies in the History of Education
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 1st December 2001
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2
Weight (kg): 0.32
Edition Number: 1