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11.7.3b Letter from Minnie Umeda to Mrs. Wegella [sic] 2/2

Personal letter describes life thus far at the center; requests straw hats for her and her husband and that Mrs. Waegell check on her house. Umeda mentions a lack of activities and of greenery at the center, as well as noise in the barracks.
Umeda, Minnie
15500
Correspondence

Umeda, Minnie, Letter from Minnie Umeda to Mrs. Wegella, June 8, 1942. Letter. California State University, Sacramento, Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Japanese American Archival Collection. https://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16855coll4/id/421/rec/7

During World War II, Minnie Umeda, a Japanese American woman, wrote this letter in which she describes how relocation and internment affected her life. Notice how she asks her neighbor to check on her house and garden in her absence. What do you think happened to the homes and businesses that Japanese Americans were forced to abandon? In addition to loss of income and property, people who faced internment had their lives and futures thrown into disarray. More than four decades after the war, the US government issued an apology and attempted to pay reparations to those interned — but imagine how the experience of being interned might affect someone’s future. If it was you, would you be more or less likely to support your government’s decisions? How does internment complicate our understanding of civil rights and equality?

During World War II, Minnie Umeda, a Japanese American woman, wrote this letter in which she describes how relocation and internment affected her life. Ask students to notice how Umeda asks her neighbor to check on her house and garden in her absence. Ask them to make inferences about what they think happened to the homes and businesses that Japanese Americans were forced to abandon. In addition to loss of income and property, people who faced internment had their lives and futures thrown into disarray. More than four decades after the war, the US government issued an apology and attempted to pay reparations to those interned — but ask students to imagine how the experience of being interned might affect someone’s future. Ask your students if they were in Umeda’s place, would they be more or less likely to support their government’s decisions in the future? They may also wish to wrestle with this question: How does internment complicate our understanding of civil rights and equality? Finally, ask why they think Umeda’s tone is cheerful and solicitous.

five rooms and one wall petition. One family put on the radio, other room chatter and sure it is noisy. I am sure homesick. We all had typhoid and smallpox shots every week, so we are not feeling good.
Mrs. Wegall, I suppose you are busy with your works; but please do me a favor. I like to have a big brim straw hat (large $.50) and Frank’s straw hat (size 7) around 2 dollars; and have it to send to me from the store.
Please try and look around when you by my house. Are they picking my strawberries; or irrigating my vineyard?
I sure like to now.
Give my best regards to your family and take good care of your health in this hot heat.
Goodbye

Minnie Umeda
Address
Fresno Assembly Center
Section J Barrack 11 Apt 2
Fresno, Calif.