The First Step…Manzanar

Manzanar (011)© Art Mills Photos

Getting ready for my trip to Manzanar…  I’m filled with anticipation as I get ready to take the next step on my journey.  This will be my third trip to Manzanar, but my first on this Journey of Conscience.  The first two trips crystallized the notion that I need to do this.  It is a long drive from home, nine to ten hours depending upon the number of stops along the way. I’ll drive across the Cascades, down past Reno, and south along Hwy 395 on the east side of the Sierras. The trip will take me over eight mountain passes, past two beautiful lakes and one reservoir, and through countless plant and wildlife communities.  Other than Reno and Carson City, the towns along the way are small, some just hamlets.  Like all of the other WRA Camps, Manzanar was situated for isolation from the rest of the population.

For Manzanar maps, click this link.

You will see from my upcoming photos that Manzanar is a place of stark beauty. The wildness and beauty of the setting helps me remember that Manzanar was also a place of great contrasts; a place where the human experiences were as wide and varied as the thousands of people who were brought there.

There is still much work to do, material to read, and maps of the camp to peruse. Hopefully, I will be able to talk with people who lived in Manzanar as children. Always, my hope is to capture, through direct conversation and through reading and watching recorded video interviews, the feelings and insights of Americans who lived in the camps. Part of my journey is to hear and to share their narrative.

Next Steps on the Journey… In 17 days, I set out for Manzanar, driving in my GMC.

THANKS for reading!  If you’d like to follow this blog, just scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click the “Follow” button.

Grace and peace,

Art

4 Comments on “The First Step…Manzanar

  1. Art, I’m appreciating your blogs and am intrigued by this journey of conscience. Are you imagining what you will do in response to each (or the totality) of your visits? Will there be a book residing in you through this process? I sent you one SF Chron article (the other, longer one got into recycle before I could capture it) and there are a number of pieces in the local press that I’ll send you if you are interested. One is a review of the play, “Sisters Matsumoto” and the other an op ed linking the internment with the current fears of the Muslim communities — an interfaith inter-community gathering. doug

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  2. Doug, Yes! I’m very interested in other resources… I’m in my vacuum mode right now…taking in as much as I can. : ) So, I’d really appreciate anything you send my way. What I’m going to do is a series of photo/narrative/quotation blog posts for my visits to each of the ten WRA Camp sites. Some will be more extensive than others, because there is great variability in the current states of the sites. Manzanar will be my first and will give me more of an idea of what the rest will be like. One thing I know for certain is that there is an unpredictability about how this will evolve. For one thing, there is a tremendous spiritual/emotional fact of being on the grounds of one of these camps. I just affects you when you go out on the ground. Overwhelming in some respects. The only equivalent I can voice is that of going onto the grounds of Yad Vashem. They are NOT equivalent (which is why I won’t call the WRA Camps “Concentration Camps” even though many do), but they are similar in that they represent darker aspects of our Western history that sprang from fear or deep hatred and contempt. For now, I’m content with doing an extended series of blogs from my visits of each of the ten camps. Whether or not the blogs will form the basis for a book is anyone’s guess at this point. : )

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