National Park Service Awards $3 Million for WWII Japanese American Confinement Sites

The National Park Service (NPS) recently awarded 23 grants totaling $2.9 million to help preserve and interpret historic locations, where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II. To see a list of the 2010 grantees click here.

In the program’s second year, the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grants will help fund projects in a dozen states, including the restoration of a historic railroad depot in Arkansas that will house an exhibit about that state’s two confinement sites, and an educational outreach program to engage youth in preserving confinement sites through art, conversation, and community service.

Congress established the Japanese American Confinement Sites grant program in 2006 to preserve and interpret the places where Japanese Americans were sequestered after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. The law authorizes up to $38 million in grants for the life of the program to identify, research, evaluate, interpret, protect, restore, repair, and acquire historic confinement sites. The program aims to teach present and future generations about the injustice of the World War II confinement.

Congress appropriated $3 million for grants in the current fiscal year. They were awarded in a competitive process, matching $2 in federal money for every $1 in non-federal funds and “in-kind” contributions raised by groups working to preserve the sites and their histories. Congress appropriated $1 million for fiscal year 2009, the first year of the grants.

Locations eligible for the grants include the 10 War Relocation Authority camps that were set up in 1942 in seven states: Gila River and Poston, AZ; Amache, CO; Heart Mountain, WY; Jerome and Rohwer, AR; Manzanar and Tule Lake, CA; Minidoka, ID, and Topaz, UT. Also eligible are more than 40 other locations in 16 states, including civilian and military-run assembly, relocation and isolation centers.