RELOCATION, ARKANSAS

AFTERMATH OF INCARCERATION

 

Where Can I See the Film?

The film is not yet in distribution, so it is not publicly available. We do screen at select film festivals and community events from time to time. Our facebook page will have a list of upcoming screenings: https://www.facebook.com/Relocation-Arkansas- Film- 1531243067166533/  We are currently editing and packaging the film for educational distribution. Check back with us for details as they develop.

 

How Can I Contact the Film’s Director?

We welcome you to contact Vivienne via the form below, or to email her directly at  vivienne@vivienneschiffer.com Due to the great response we've received from audiences, we may not be able to respond to all emails. But  truly appreciate your responses to the film, and will try to be available to answer your questions and hear your personal history with the Japanese American incarceration experience. Please let us know where you live and how you came across the film.

 

Where Can I View Rosalie Santine Gould’s Collection of Art from the Rohwer and Jerome Camps?

Rosalie Santine Gould donated her collection of art to Little Rock’s Butler Center for Arkansas Studies in 2010. Despite repeated entreaties from major auction houses to put the collection up for auction and gain a financial profit from the sale, Mayor Gould responded that although she possessed the collection, it did not belong to her; it belonged to the former prisoners and to the State of Arkansas. It was important to her that the collection stay in Arkansas. 

Because of its age and significance, the collection is housed in temperature and humidity controlled storage at all times. From time to time, the Butler Center mounts exhibits of the collection. The entire collection of art and documents is in the process of being digitized for the public and researchers, and until that has been accomplished, certain items are available for viewing here: https://www.butlercenter.org/rohwer/

Information about current exhibitions can be found here: https://www.butlercenter.org

 

Can I Visit Little Rock’s Central High School?

Yes, you can! While it remains a vibrant and working high school, Little Rock’s Central High School is also a National Historic Site of the National Park Service. There is a fantastic visitors’ center directly across the street from the school, which is manned by park rangers who conduct guided tours by reservation only. There are restrictions on access to the school itself. Please refer to the National Park Service’s website for information on arranging a tour: https://www.nps.gov/chsc/index.html. If you can’t arrange a tour, the visitors’ center is worth a visit if you are in the Little Rock area.

 

Can I Visit the Site of the Rohwer and Jerome Camps?

Both Rohwer and Jerome receive visitors all the time. The site of the Jerome Camp is in private hands, but since there is very little left of the Jerome Camp, it’s easy to park just off the highway and visit the monument. In the distance, you will see the smokestack and some water cisterns that remain. The Rohwer Camp is easy to visit, and is more accessible to the public. Just follow the signs (directions to both camps are explained below), and park at the perimeter of the cemetery. Access to the cemetery is open, but please be respectful – this is final resting place of many of the prisoners. As you regard the headstones, note that many of the people who are buried there were elderly when they died. Imagine the tragedy of coming from Japan in the last days of the samurai, only to die, innocent, in a prison in a foreign and strange place. Many others were infants who died at the camp. As you look across the fields from the cemetery, you will see the smokestack that marked the far perimeter of the camp, where the hospital was located. There are also interpretive kiosks which provide additional perspective.

 

How Do I Get to Rohwer and Jerome?

Rohwer and Jerome are fairly close in proximity, so they can both be visited on a single day trip from Little Rock.

Jerome is on US Highway 165. If you are traveling from Little Rock, head south on Interstate 530/US Hwy 65 S toward Pine Bluff. Past Pine Bluff, follow the signs to US Hwy 65 toward McGehee. Travel approximately 60 miles (past McGehee) and veer right onto US 165 south. The site of the Jerome Camp is approximately 11 miles down US Hwy 165, on your left, marked by a monument.

Rohwer can be reached by returning to McGehee, and exiting US Hwy 65 N onto Arkansas Hwy 1 N/E. Follow Arkansas Hwy 1 north approximately 12 miles to the community of Rohwer. The entrance to the camp site is marked by a sign. Turn left at the sign, drive over the grade, and follow the gravel road to the site, stopping of course, to enjoy the informational kiosks. When you arrive in Rohwer, you may notice two homes on the right side of the highway, a brick house and a white clapboard house, both shaded by graceful oaks. The white house was built by the great grandmother of our director and producer, Vivienne Schiffer, and is the house Vivienne grew up in. The brick house was the home of her grandparents, Joe Gould Sr., and Grace Gould.

 

I Had No Idea That This Was Part of American History. How Can I Learn More?

Please take a look at our Resources Page for links to great organizations which provide information on this tragic page in American history. Both Densho and the National Archives have hundreds of photos from the era.

 

Until I Saw Your Film, I Had Never Heard of the 442 nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100 th Infantry Battalion. Where Can I Learn More About Them?

The 442 nd and the 100 th Infantry Battalion were segregated, all Japanese American units which fought in World War II. The 442 nd remains the most highly decorated military unit in American history. See our Resources Page for a link to the Go For Broke National Education Center, which is dedicated to the 442 nd . While you are considering the sacrifice and dedication of the soldiers who comprised the 442 nd and the 100 th Battalion, don’t forget about those brave men who chose a different route, protesting the constitutionality of the incarceration of themselves, their families and their neighbors by resisting the draft. They were called “the Resistors.” Information about the Resistors can be found here: http://encyclopedia.densho.org/Draft_resistance/

 

What is Wrong with Calling The Camps Relocation Camps or Internment Camps?

Much thoughtful discussion has surrounded the terminology of describing and interpreting this history. We are not experts in this debate, and will not respond to comments concerning how these and other words are used. We do, however, support the Japanese American community’s thoughts on these matters, and encourage you to read a report on the subject and the thoughts of some members of the community and other knowledgeable people who have dedicated their time, resources, and scholarship to the subject. You can find that report here: https://jacl.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Power- of-Words- Rev.-Term.- Handbook.pdf.

We also encourage anyone interested in learning the true facts behind the incarceration experience to read this fascinating series of article by the renowned historian, Roger Daniels, which concisely sets forth a basic history of the incarceration process. It is an in-depth discussion of terminology, but it is further a powerful and useful resource on many misconceptions about the wisdom and necessity of incarcerating innocent American citizens and residents. You can find Professor Daniel’s articles here: http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/2008/2/1/words-do- matter

 

If Relocation is a Euphemistic Word, Why Did You Use It in the Title of the Film?

“Relocation, Arkansas” is a place name. During production, we were very mindful of the misuse of the word “relocation” by the United States government. An example of that misuse is that, officially, the name assigned as the address for the WRA Camp at Rohwer, Arkansas, by the United States Postal Service was “Relocation, Arkansas.” The name was infrequently used, and seems to have been discarded sometime during the war for the more often used “Rohwer Relocation Center.” We have images of a few of the rare instances when it was used on our Gallery Page, including a list of the camps from a United States government document, a notice in the Rohwer Outpost, the camp newspaper, and a letter addressed to Relocation, Arkansas. As filmmakers, we found the name sadly ironic, as Relocation, Arkansas was not just an experience, albeit inaccurately named, it was also an actual place identified by the United States government.

 

My Family Was in Camp In Arkansas. How Can I Share Their Photos and Stories? If you have photos from your family’s experience at the Rohwer or Jerome Camps, and you would like to share them, please let us know! We can post them to our Facebook Page so that everyone can see them, and you can share the posts with your friends. If you have art or crafts from the camps that your family members made or collected, take note! Once people learned that Rosalie Santine Gould had amassed a collection of art from the Arkansas camps, many of them contributed their own family’s works of arts and crafts, and documents, to the collection. If you have items you would like to donate to the Butler Center’s collection, we can put you in touch with them. The Butler Center has state of the art facilities to preserve and protect these precious treasures.