A Day of Remembrance with Khizr Khan

Gold Star father Khizr Khan made headlines when he offered to lend his copy of the Constitution to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump during a speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, asking him to read the document and “look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law.'” Khan will be speaking at Seattle Center on Sunday, February 19th at Densho’s 2018 Day of Remembrance–Our History, Our Responsibility–an event to honor Japanese Americans of World War II and stand in solidarity with American Muslims today. Continue reading “A Day of Remembrance with Khizr Khan”

Never Again: Japanese American WWII History and American Muslim Rights Today

Seventy-five years ago, approximately 7,000 Seattleites were ordered by the U.S. military to leave their homes and sent to incarceration camps. Most ended up at desolate Minidoka in southern Idaho. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, signed on February 19, 1942, two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, forcibly evacuated 120,000 Japanese Americans living on the Pacific Coast to one of ten concentration camps scattered across the country, where they would remain imprisoned for the duration of World War II until 1945.

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Minidoka War Relocation Center in 1943

Continue reading “Never Again: Japanese American WWII History and American Muslim Rights Today”

20 Essential Seattle Books, Part 2: Diversity

Here at the library, we’re often asked by both locals and newcomers, “What books are must reads for Seattleites?” While we’re not much for ‘must’ or ‘should,’ we thought we’d list twenty titles that capture essential aspects of the history and culture of this place. Not a definitive list: a jumping off place. Our first post looked at Seattle’s history, and in today’s post we revisit that history through the lens of diversity.

no-no-boyThere are many excellent books about the Internment of Japanese Americans during the second World War, but one of the earliest – and one that holds special significance for Seattleites – is John Okada’s 1957 novel No-No Boy. After two years in an internment camp and two years in federal prison for declining military service and a loyalty oath, Ichiro Yamada returns home to Seattle to find himself alienated on all sides. For another view of experiences of Seattle’s Japanese Americans before and during the War, check out Monica Sone’s 1953 memoir Nisei Daughter
Continue reading “20 Essential Seattle Books, Part 2: Diversity”

Seattle Camera Club’s Vision of Beauty

The beauty of our city, and its surroundings — how often have these been noted and commented on? Every fine day we get another opportunity to be grateful for Seattle’s location, and every rainy or cloudy day, the beauty is still present but cloaked in different covering. We’re lucky to be reminded of this simple wonder on occasion, and no better reminder than the recent book, Shadows of a Fleeting World: Pictorial Photography and the Seattle Camera Club, by David Martin and Nicolette Bromberg. Shadows Fleeting World Seattle Camera ClubWritten to accompany a recent exhibit at the Henry Gallery, the book and its authors will be honored in a program on Thursday, Oct. 20, 7 p.m., in the Central Library Microsoft Auditorium. They will present information about the Seattle Camera Club and its coterie of Japanese-American and Caucasian photographers of the 1920s.  This short-lived club specialized in images of Seattle, of nearby waters, of Mount Rainier, all in the impressionist style of photo pictorialism. The club, a casualty of the depression, lasted only a few years, and most of the photographers were swept up in the internment of Japanese, having to surrender their cameras and equipment. That we can enjoy some of their work today is a fluke of history; many of these photographs were lost or discarded. Caucasian photographers were friends and associates of these photographers — a notable one being Virna Haffer, of Tacoma, whose work is now being displayed at the Tacoma Art Museum. After the “Shadows of a Fleeting World” program at the Central Library, a selection of the club’s photographs will be on display at Douglass-Truth Branch, 2300 E. Yesler Way, where visitors can recover that delight in the beauty of our environment that so marks the work of these photographers.