Rohwer Japanese internment camp projects receive grants


A total of $247,533 was granted Thursday to projects aimed at preserving the history of the World War II Japanese internment camps at Rohwer in Southeast Arkansas.

The National Park Service announced the grants in a press release.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock received a $220,706 grant to continue its preservation efforts at the historic Rohwer Relocation Center cemetery in Desha County. Twenty-four displaced concrete headstones and markers will be reset, repaired and cleaned of biological staining. The original concrete pathways between headstones will be restored, as will the original drainage patterns and channels in the cemetery.

The Central Arkansas Library System received $26,827 to restore and conserve 30 textile pieces created by Japanese-American students at Rohwer under the instruction of their high school art teacher, Mable “Jamie” Jamison Vogel. These textiles are part of a larger collection of artwork that was donated to the Butler Center in 2010 and preserved under a 2011 Japanese American Confinement Sites grant.

The grants were announced as part of a total of $2.9 million granted to preserve and interpret similar sites across the United States. More than 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were American citizens, were imprisoned by the U.S. government following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, according to the release.

“As America’s storyteller, the National Park Service is committed to sharing this tragic episode of our nation’s past and what it teaches us about the fragility of our constitutional rights,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in the release. “These grants fund projects to help us gain a better understanding of the past, engage new audiences, and build new partnerships in the preservation of these historic sites and lessons they hold.”

For more details about these projects, visit: http://www.nps.gov/hps/hpg/JACS/.