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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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Barracks sign from Manzanar relocation center, California, 1942-45Barracks sign from Manzanar relocation center, California, 1942-45

During World War II thousands of Japanese immigrants and Japanese American citizens were evacuated from their homes on the West Coast and relocated to internment camps because the U.S. government considered them a threat to national security. This wooden sign identified the residence of Michibiku Ozamoto in the Manzanar camp; the numbers stand for block 24, barracks 4, apartment 3. The Smithsonian collected this sign and other artifacts from former internees and their families for its 1987 exhibition A More Perfect Union. In 1988 Congress formally apologized to Japanese Americans and granted cash reparations to surviving internees.

See also: World War II

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