The National Park Service has awarded a two-year $321,554 grant to California State University, Dominguez Hills’ (CSUDH) Archives and Special Collections to serve as principal investigator on a collaborative project between archives at 15 CSU campuses to digitize nearly 10,000 documents and more than 100 oral histories related to the confinement of Japanese Americans during World War II. The CSU Japanese American Digitization Project will make these materials available on a CSU-sponsored website and also result in a teaching guide and traveling exhibit for schools and the public.
“It is heartening to have the National Park Service acknowledge the scale and importance of the CSU’s collections,” said CSUDH Director of Archives and Special Collections Greg Williams. “The grant will ensure that this significant part of our history can be studied for generations to come.”
Many campuses throughout the CSU system were located near California’s incarceration camps and Japanese American communities. Throughout the last half century, their archives, libraries, oral history projects and history departments have collected archival and manuscript materials, objects, and media relating to Japanese internment that have yet to be digitized.
This is the second grant the CSUDH archives department has received in support of this project, which Williams said is the first time for such a large scale collaboration of archival collections within the CSU. Last summer, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded CSUDH a $40,000 planning grant to create the centralized web site, www.CSUJAD.com.
With the grant money, CSUDH along with participating CSU archives at Bakersfield, Channel Islands, East Bay, Fresno, Fullerton, Long Beach, Northridge, Sacramento, San Jose, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, San Francisco, and Sonoma will have the resources to digitize and catalog more of their records.
The grant was one of 20 awarded by the National Park Service totaling more than $2.8 million to help preserve and interpret the World War II confinement sites of Japanese Americans. More than 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were American citizens, were imprisoned by the U.S. government following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
For more information on the digitization project, contact the CSUDH Archives at (310) 243-3895 or visit here.