Stanley Umeda was born in Florin, California. When Stan was six, his family was sent to the Fresno Assembly Center and then on to Jerome, Arkansas. When Jerome closed in 1944, his family was transferred to Gila, Arizona, a camp situated in the middle of a US Indian reservation. When released from camp, he returned to Elk Grove and graduated from Elk Grove High School. Stan went on to become a social worker for the State Department of Mental Health. Stan, together with his wife Christine Umeda, gives presentations to teachers and students to tell about the internment experience. The aftermath of 9/11 has renewed his commitment to share his story, so that no other group will suffer the same fate.
Note: To listen to a specific clip, move the slider on the video to the designated clip time listed below.
00:00 – Introduction
00:18 – Clip 1
Explains importance of Time of Remembrance program. Needed now more than ever, with 9/11. “Thin veneer of tolerance” easily disappears. Need to renew efforts to “remember.”
03:02 – Clip 2
Remembering the announcement of Pearl Harbor – not knowing what the “magnitude” would be. Packing up procedures. Seen through eyes of 1st grader.
03:30 – Clip 3
Recalls going to Fresno Assembly Center. Fear of getting lost due to sameness of buildings.
04:23 – Clip 4
Describes memories of school in camp, including time he neglected to “call home.” Tells about family (2 parents + brother) + family number.
06:01 – Clip 5
Discusses how parents dealt with camp experience, which was much different from a child’s perspective. Didn’t realize till later years how much his family had lost – and his wish to “not be a farmer” when he grew up.
07:24 – Clip 6
Describes experience of coming back after the war, as a 10 year old. Neighbors were surprised; shopkeepers too. Recalls an incident with a classmate. Regrets lack of photos to document the years they did not have cameras.
Video production provided by the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium – http://www.secctv.org
Primary source images to accompany Stan Umeda’s story. Images provided by Stan Umeda – Elk Grove Unified School District.