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May 2017

eTorch

GFBNEC Awarded Grants from National Endowment for the Humanities and California Civil Liberties Public Education Program

Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) is privileged to receive two grants that will help fund projects in both our archives and education/exhibit departments.

On April 19, 2017, Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) announced the awarding of a $193,080 grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to help preserve, restore and digitize 800 oral histories of WWII Japanese American veterans contained in GFBNEC's Hanashi Oral History collection.

The 800 oral histories, which represent about 2,000 hours of moving-image playback, will be selected from nearly 1,200 interviews in the Hanashi oral history collection. The histories chronicle the experiences of Japanese American veterans who served in segregated units during WWII, many of whom had families imprisoned in U.S. incarceration camps. The Hanashi program represents the largest compilation of such Nisei veteran interviews, and includes stories from those who served in combat and intelligence units in the European and Pacific Theaters.

"This grant from NEH will allow us to preserve these priceless histories of our Nisei veterans, and to better organize and index them so that they can be shared with scholars, researchers and the public for years to come," Dr. Mitchell T. Maki, GFBNEC's President and Chief Executive Officer, said. "These stories speak to the courage, selflessness and patriotism of our Nisei vets in helping to protect our democracy. Today, their examples can be used to inform public debate and policy as we discuss important issues such as tolerance, social justice and equal protection under the law."

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.


Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) announced it has received a $50,000 grant from the California State Library's California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, which works to remind Californians of the civil liberties violations suffered by Japanese Americans during World War II. The grant will enable GFBNEC to transcribe a series of audiovisual oral histories from its Hanashi Oral History Collection for integration into lesson plans and a public program that will be offered free to public schools.

The Hanashi (Japanese for 'talk' or 'story') Oral History Collection captures the firsthand accounts of Japanese American veterans of WWII who served in segregated military units throughout Europe and the Pacific. The Hanashi collection represents the world's largest collection of Nisei veterans' life histories, with more than 1,200 interviews of veterans from the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service and related units.

The unique oral histories recall Nisei soldiers' lives before the war; the military and combat experience; the incarceration of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast; and the rebuilding of communities and neighborhoods following military service and incarceration.

"These intensely personal oral histories reflect on the hysteria, bigotry and flawed public policy that forever changed the lives of Japanese Americans during World War II," Dr. Mitchell T. Maki, GFBNEC's President and Chief Executive Officer, said. "We continue to debate many of these important issues today-national security versus individual freedoms, the civil liberties of American citizens, and the need to protect the rights of individuals from all religious and cultural backgrounds. We're grateful for this opportunity, made possible by the California State Library, which will help us educate students about the Nisei soldiers' experiences and their lasting contributions to our democracy."

The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, created in 1998, sponsors educational activities to ensure that the events surrounding the exclusion, forced removal and incarceration of U.S. residents of Japanese ancestry during WWII will be remembered and understood. For more information on the California State Library, please visit www.library.ca.gov.


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