McGehee, Arkansas is the nearest city to the Jerome and Rohwer WRA Camps, roughly halfway between them. In 1942, McGehee had a population of about 3,600. The two Camps had a combined population of 16,972. McGehee is still a small city.
In the middle of town, is a little jewel box… a small museum dedicated to the Jerome and Rohwer Camps. Filled with gems, the museum has a collection of photos, quotations from Camp prisoners, and artifacts from the sites. Two curators staff the museum. Remaining in close contact with Japanese Americans who were in the Camps, the curators obviously work to sustain a collection that carefully reflects what took place at the two camps.
“The next order was that we were going to be moved to Arkansas. We had to pack up our belongings again and crate them. This was another sad movement of my life. We came on the first crew. We came by the southern route. It took us three days and four (nights). We were in Rohwer, Arkansas at five in the morning.”
Hiroshi Ito, Rohwer
This exhibit includes photos of some of the people taken to Rohwer.
They have several artifacts on display.
A small box which held some of the possessions the Utsumi family (family no. 26514), who were taken from Stockton, CA to Rohwer.
Recently recovered in a field on the Rohwer site.
A small figurine recently recovered at the Rohwer site.
The care and concern of the museum at McGehee is profoundly touching. In the middle of a remote, rural part of America, men and women work daily to help others remember. Respectfully, they work to keep the memories alive.
Next stop on the journey… the Rohwer WRA Camp.
Thanks, for joining me!