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Friday, March 20, 1942, page 18: War Relocation Authority

Friday, March 20, 1942, page 18: War Relocation Authority

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FDR Establishes Relocation Plan

WASHINGTON, March 19. ─ (AP) ─ President Roosevelt established today a "War Relocation Authority," which will have charge of a program for the relocation and employment of those persons being moved out of military areas.

These people will be given an opportunity to enlist for the duration of the war in a "war relocation work corps." They would perform work essential to the war effort, White House officials said, but not of a type which would provide any opportunity for sabotage.

It was suggested they might engage, for instance, in agricultural pursuits and thereby release other workers for jobs more closely linked with direct production of weapons and war supplies.

The director of the new authority, which was created by an executive order, will be Milton S. Eisenhower, a former land use coordinator of the department of agriculture.

Note to readers: This article appeared on Page 18 of the Arizona Daily Star, making it seem less important the news on the front page. However, the significance was probably not realized at the time.

While the purpose of the War Relocation Authority as described in the article appears benign, according to the executive order, the purpose was to "take all people of Japanese descent into custody, surround them with troops, prevent them from buying land and return them to their former homes at the close of the war."

There were authority camps in Arizona. The Catalina Federal Honor Camp was in the Catalina Mountains.

In 1942, Gordon Hirabayashi challenged the forced relocation of Japanese Americans, but the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the relocations. Hirabayashi was convicted of violating a curfew and sentenced to the camp in the Catalinas.

In 1987, his case was overturned and in 1999, the Coronado National Forest renamed the camp the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site. A few months after his death on Jan. 22, 2012, Hirabayashi was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Reparations were made to surviving internees and their heirs in 1990.

Source: Arizona Daily Star archives and history.com.

Johanna Eubank is a digital producer for the Arizona Daily Star and tucson.com. She has been with the Star in various capacities since 1991. Contact her at jeubank@tucson.com

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Johanna Eubank is a digital producer for the Arizona Daily Star and tucson.com. She has been with the Star in various capacities since 1991.

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