Life After Camps
With World War II at an end on August 14th 1945, Manzanar internees were only released on Nov. 21st. They began new lives and most tried to forget what happened to them. Many of them had lost their land, home and valuables when put into the camps so they tried to regain what was lost. Disadvantages Japanese American internees faced included impoverishment, loss of businesses, occupations and property, as well as remaining prejudice. Japanese Americans were still restricted from going to certain places because many people still resented them. In 1980 however, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians was formed. This organization found that Japanese American internment camps violated the U.S. Constitution. On August 10, 1988 The Civil Liberties Act was passed and required the US government to pay $20,000 to each internment camp survivor.
The camp of Manzanar was closed on November 12th of 1945. Manzanar was largely forgotten upon replacement. In the 1970s however, Japanese Americans worked so hard to ensure that Manzanar be preserved so that everyone could learn an important part of Japanese American history. “In January 1972, the California State Department of Parks and Recreation designated Manzanar as a State Historic Landmark.” (NPS.gov) Today the camp operates as a place where visitors may come in and learn of the daily life, stories and experiences of Japanese Americans. The Manzanar camp today serves as a museum for children and adults, as well as a site for landscaping projects. Not only that, but there is a virtual tour of Manzanar, and staff members who tell their stories about Manzanar along with some of their personal objects.
The incarceration of thousands of Japanese “is a story of oppression, resistance, and the ability of a people to challenge the circumstances.” (The View from Within) In 1972 California State Park Department made Manzanar a state Historical Landmark On March 3,1992 Manzanar became a National Historic park by George H.W.Bush.