In the summer of 2014, retired GFS teacher Teresa Maebori went with her mother to Caldwell, Idaho to explore her birthplace—a labor camp for Japanese Americans. Teresa shares the comprehensive story of that journey here, originally published in our Studies in Education publication.
While visiting the Caldwell labor camp with her mother, Teresa found out about an exhibit called "Uprooted: Japanese American Farm Labor Camps During World War II," organized by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, which told her much more about the history of the labor camps. "Uprooted" tells the story of 33,000 Japanese Americans who volunteered out of the concentration camps to harvest sugar beets, mainly in eastern Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
In it, she recognized threads of her own story and that of her parents and brother.
Teresa inquired then about the "Uprooted" exhibit and found out that she could reserve it. So she did. The first available date was in 2017. She thought, "That's a long way off," and now it's here. Teresa was awarded a Legacy Grant from the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) so she could move forward with her plan of bringing the exhibit east. She received additional funds from the Philadelphia JACL and the regional organization, the Eastern District Council.
This episode in American history is so little known that Teresa thought it should be exposed, especially in places beyond the West Coast. Thanks to Teresa's efforts, "Uprooted" will be at Friends Center in the first East Coast showing.
1501 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
"Uprooted" will be on view:
Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, 2-5 p.m.
Admission is free.