Manzanar Relocation Center: From the Perspective of the WRA Photos


The Manzanar Relocation Center was one of the ten American concentration camps for Japanese Americans during World War II. The center was located in the Owens Valley 220 miles north of Los Angeles, California.  It was opened in June 1, 1942 by the command of U.S. Army General John DeWitt. Sixty two percent of the inmates were American Citizens. 

The following photos were downloaded from the National Archives. The photos were taken by War Relocation Authority (WRA) photographers who were constrained by WRA rules. The photos could not be sad or too happy. A sad photo would make the camp image suffer. A too happy photo would make the administrators look like coddlers.

An example of images being too sad are photos taken by Dorothea Lange which were impounded by the Army. Lange was subsequently fired from her job. Ref. Dinitia Smith, NY Times, Nov. 2006, Photographs of an Episode That Lives in Infamy Retrieved March 17, 2011.

View more photos here: (the photos are sorted by date, click on photos to enlarge.)

Manzanar Relocation Center Photo Album 1 >>

Manzanar Relocation Center Photo Album 2 >>

Manzanar Relocation Center Photo Album 3 >>

For those who would like more details about these images, go to the National Archives website at  Hit "Digital Copies" and set limit to 1000. Type in "Manzanar Relocation Center" and hit search.



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