Camp Poston As Seen by a Resident

Tom Tanaka was living at Camp Poston when he created this painting of the place on May 17, 1942. He—like thousands of other Japanese-Americans—was forced to relocate to this internment camp, situated in a desert area of Arizona, after President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. 

A photo of Tanaka's original work—a painting on a cardboard-box panel—is online via Wikimedia Commons. License:  CC BY-SA 3.0

The Japanese American National Museum provides us with the facts about Poston:

Official name: Colorado River Relocation Center

Location: Yuma County, Arizona, 17 miles south of Parker

Land: On the Colorado Indian Reservation

Size: 71,000 acres; Poston was the largest of the camps

Climate: Desert; perhaps the hottest of all camps

Origin of camp population: Mostly from Los Angeles (2,750), Tulare (1,952), San Diego (1,883), Orange (1,636), Fresno (1,590), Imperial (1,512), Monterey (1,506), and Santa Cruz (1,222) Counties

Via "assembly centers": Most either came to Poston directly (11,738) or came from Salinas (3,459) or Santa Anita (1,573) "ASSEMBLY CENTERS"; Poston also received 469 transfers from Justice Department administered INTERNMENT CAMPS, the highest figure of any WRA camp

Rural/Urban: Mostly rural

Peak population: 17,814, the most populous besides TULE LAKE "SEGREGATION CENTER"

Date of peak: September 2, 1942

Opening date: May 8, 1942

Closing date: Unit I: November 28, 1945 Unit II: September 29, 1945 Unit III: September 29, 1945 Project director(s): Wade Head and Duncan Mills Community analysts: Alexander Leighton, Edward H. Spicer, Elizabeth Colson and David H. French; Conrad Arensberg and Laura Thompson were consultants

JERS fieldworkers: Richard S. Nishimoto and Tamie Tsuchiyama

Newspaper: Poston Chronicle (May 13, 1942-October 23, 1945)

Percent who answered question 28 of the loyalty questionnaire positively: 93.7

Number and percentage of eligible male citizens inducted directly into armed forces: 611 (4.8 percent) Industry: A camouflage net factory operated from fall 1942 to May 1943

Miscellaneous characteristics: The most notable incident at Poston was the POSTON ...There was another strike involving 56 adobe workers in August 1942 that was quickly settled. Poston was named after Charles Poston, the "Father of Arizona." One of the most intensively studied of all the camps, Poston housed a social science laboratory under the leadership of Alexander Leighton while under the OIA in addition to having WRA community analysts and JAPANESE AMERICAN EVACUATION AND RESETTLEMENT STUDY fieldworkers.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5156stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 20, 2017

Updated Last Revision: Sep 01, 2017

Media Credits

Tom Tanaka, a Japanese-American forced to leave his home and evacuate to Camp Poston after FDR''s Executive Order 9066 took effect, created this painting of Camp Poston. License:  CC BY-SA 3.0


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"Camp Poston As Seen by a Resident" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 20, 2017. Apr 20, 2019.
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