Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties
February 18 – May 29, 2022
This exhibit examines the terrifying period in U.S. history when the government scapegoated and imprisoned thousands of people of Japanese ancestry. It tells the story of the forced removal of 120,000 Japanese American citizens and legal residents from their homes during World War II without due process or other constitutional protections to which they were entitled. The accounts in this multimedia exhibition illustrate the impact this fear-based rebuke had on those who experienced it firsthand and the lasting repercussions on the generations that followed.
Featuring imagery by noted American photographers Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams, alongside works by incarcerated Japanese American artist Toyo Miyatake and artifacts from the Chicago-based Japanese American Committee collection, this exhibition examines the history of emigration from Japan, the responses of the American people and government to it, and traces the lives of Japanese Americans after the War as they struggled to reestablish their shattered lives. This narrative reflects distressing parallels to the discrimination, intolerance and governmental policies surrounding the historical and current immigration and refugee crisis in America and around the world.
Then They Came for Me was originated in Chicago by the Alphawood Foundation with the support and cooperation of the Japanese American Service Committee of Chicago.