In early 1942, two months after Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered all Japanese-Americans to evacuate the West Coast. Nine-year-old Sam Mihara and his family were among the approximately 120,000 people who were sent to internment camps across the country. The Miharas, who lived in San Francisco, landed at Heart Mountain, a camp in northern Wyoming, where they would live for the next three years.
Sam Mihara visited Phillips Academy in October 2016 to share his story of what life was like inside the camp and how he was affected by those years of confinement, intolerance, and discrimination. Andover Instructor and historian Damany Fisher talked with Mihara and his wife Helene about their experiences for Every Quarter. Fisher is an authority on the American history of residential segregation and housing discrimination. His paper, “No Utopia: the African American Struggle for Fair Housing in Postwar Sacramento, 1948-1967,” was recently published in the academic journal Introduction to Ethnic Studies.