My art features another mural from downtown historic Casa Grande. It's painted in a Diego Rivera-style and depicts the town and its residents during the 1930s and 1940s. Unfortunately, I could not find much information about who painted it or when. Guess I have to take a trip to the Historical Society to find out more. But it does showcase a Japanese family and the interment camp they lived in. A camp I discovered was 15 miles from my home.
I am always shocked by the inhumanity of man. And amazed by the resilience of the human spirit
. The Gila River War Relocation Center was an internment camp built by the War Relocation Authority (WRA) for the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War. It was located within the Gila River Indian Reservation
(over their objections) near the town of Sacaton
, about 30 mi (48.3 km) southeast of Phoenix
. With a peak population of 13,348, it became the fourth-largest city in the state, operating from May 1942 to November 16, 1945.
Gila River was considered one of the least oppressive camps of its kind. It had only a single watchtower
, and its fences were among the few that lacked barbed wire
. The administrators of the camps seemed to care for the incarcerees, and allowed them access to the amenities of Phoenix. Gila River was one of the first WRA camps to have a local "democratic" governing body of internees for the camp, supervised closely by the WRA. A representative of every block was nominated to the council however, only Nisei (second generation U.S born Japanese Americans) were allowed to hold the offices. They also encouraged recreational
activities such as sports
. Butte camp contained a 6,000-seat baseball field
, designed by Kenichi Zenimura
, a professional baseball player, and considered to be the best in the WRA system. Incarcerees also built a theater
for plays and films, and playgrounds
, and planted trees
to relieve the desolation of the arid site. Gila River had a communal medical facility at Butte Hospital.
Thanks for looking.