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http://www.asianweek.com/2009/07/05/eric-saul-commissioned-to-build-japanese-american-exhibit-at-ellis-island

 

Eric Saul Commissioned to Build Japanese American Exhibit at Ellis Island

July 5, 2009

 

In a presentation at a recent Japanese American Veterans Association luncheon, Eric Saul, former curator of the Military Museum at the Presidio of San Francisco, publicly outlined his ideas for the exhibit on the Japanese Americans experience during World War II to open early next year at the Ellis Island Immigration Station Museum, New York. Commissioned by the National Park Service, Japanese American soldiers who served during World War II and the 120,000 who were interned for the duration of the war, will be honored. The theme of the exhibit will be “Go For Broke: Japanese Americans soldiers fighting on two fronts, the enemy abroad and prejudice at home.” Saul said he would like “this exhibit to be a Japanese American community project and would welcome any participation and suggestions and loan of photographs and memorabilia.”

Saul explained that the exhibit will be divided into the following components: (1) Japanese Immigration to the United States, 1885-1924; (2) Prewar Japanese Experience in Hawaii and the Mainland, 1924-1941; (3) Pearl Harbor and Japanese American Evacuation and Internment on the West Coast; (4) Japanese American Soldier in World War II; (5) Soldiers Returning Home and the Closing of the Internment Camps; (6) Japanese American Veterans and the Civil Rights Movement; (7) Japanese American Veterans and the Redress Movement - Passage of House Resolution 442; and (8) The Legacy.

“The exhibit will tell the history of the 100th Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, and Military Intelligence Service (MIS). It will tell this story in the wider context of the role of Japanese American soldiers in influencing the postwar Japanese American experience. The war record of the Nisei soldier had a significant impact on the postwar civil rights of Japanese Americans, and contributed to the successful passing of the House Resolution 442, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

“The exhibit will feature many new photographs, oral histories and new documents. The exhibit consists of approximately 175 photographs, text panels, quotes and facsimiles of historic documents. Following the New York premiere, the exhibit will later be shown at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. It will then tour the United States and Canada.”

Saul served as founding curator of the Military Museum at the Presidio of San Francisco from 1973-1986. He has designed and circulated a number of exhibits on the contribution of minorities to the US military. Included among them were exhibits on African American soldiers, women in the military, Filipinos in the US Army, and the Nisei soldiers of the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regiment, and the MIS. The Japanese American military exhibit toured to numerous venues in the United States, and was adapted as a major exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution entitled A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the Constitution. The exhibit opened in 1987. For this exhibit, he was a technical advisor and consultant.

In 1980, Saul co-founded the Go For Broke 100th/442nd/MIS Foundation, later called the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) in San Francisco. He was curator from 1981 to 1987, producing exhibits including East to America, which chronicled the story of Japanese American immigration to the United States. Saul has also produced an exhibit entitled Unlikely Liberators on the Japanese American soldiers of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, which liberated a sub camp at Dachau extermination center in March 1945. In the 1990’s, Saul served as a consultant for the Japanese American National Museum. In 2002, he created a national project, the Kansha Project, to honor people who risked their reputations to help Japanese Americans during World War II.

Saul has a number of other achievements to his credentials, such as Guest Curator at the Simon Wiesenthal Center - Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles since 1994; founder of Visas for Life: The Righteous and Honorable Diplomats Project to document and honor Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara; and a number of traveling exhibits.

Saul’s principal colleagues in this endeavor are Ted Tsukiyama, Esq., a historian of Japanese American WW II experience, and Daisy Uyeda Satoda, a Japanese American community leader in San Francisco.

The initial cooperating organizations include the National Park Service; Ellis Island Statue of Liberty National Historic Site; Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA), Washington, DC; Survivors of the Outer Camps of Dachau Concentration Camp, Israel; and Simon Wiesenthal Center - Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles, California

Eric Saul can be contacted at 810 Windwood Pl; Morgantown, WV 26505; 304-599-0614; visasforlife@s.com.

 
Featured on the cover of Heritage Matters, a National Parks Service U.S. Department of Interior Newsletter Spring 2009

Filipinos in Ellis Island

                                                        

                          by Maria Elizabeth Del Valle Embry

 

     It is common knowledge that in the early 1900s, many Filipinos came to the Hawaiian and Alaskan Territories, as well as to California, Washington, and Oregon to work in the agricultural and fishing industries.  Filipinos played a significant role in the defense of the country during World War II when they worked in the ships that transported military personnel and supplies to the war fronts.  However, the entry of many Filipinos through Ellis Island, our nation’s symbol of liberty and inclusion, remains largely unknown.

 

     The Ellis Island Oral History Collection is currently looking for Filipinos who passed through Ellis Island on their way to the United States.  The research staff is also looking for those who worked as ships’ crewmembers, were stationed at Ellis Island with the Coast Guard, or worked as an employee prior to 1954.  According to Dr. Janet Levine, the Ellis Island oral historian, they do not have any Filipinos participating in the oral history project to date.   

 

 

     Going through thousands of ships’ manifests that the Ellis Island Foundation publishes free online in the website, http://www.ellisisland.org, Maria Del Valle Embry created her own website that listed the names of many Filipinos who passed through.  This list included Filipino non-voting members of the U.S. Congress as Resident Commissioners of the U. S. colonial government in the Philippines, commissioners Manuel Quezon and Sergio Osmena, both of whom would later become Presidents of the Philippines.  Filipinos who passed through Ellis Island were the Senators, provincial Governors, diplomats, jurists, writers, educators, students and businessmen/women.  It is also noteworthy that of the Filipinos who entered the US through Ellis Island, most were crew members of ships.  Since the Filipinos were called FOBs (fresh off the boats) by other earlier immigrants, it is interesting to know that they were actually the seafarers who toiled in the ships that brought the European immigrants to the United States.   

 

 

     Publication of the Ellis Island interview search will identify Filipinos who may be willing to tell their first-hand experience on their passage through Ellis Island and be part of its history.  Additionally, members of diverse communities like the Chinese, Koreans, Hispanics, and others who worked alongside the Filipinos as crewmembers may wish to share their stories.  Identification with our nation’s history will undeniably promote good citizenship and civic involvement, a common goal for all.

 

 

     For more information contact Janet Levine, Oral History Program, Statue of Liberty National Monument; e-mail: janet_levine@nps.gov phone:212/363-3206x157

  

To obtain a free copy of the newsletter (while supplies last) please contact:
 
Mr. Brian D. Joyner, Editor, Heritage Matters
Department of Interior
National Park Service
1849 C Street NW (2280)
Washington D.C. 20240
phone 202 354-2276
fax 202-371-2422
 

To read past issues of Heritage Matters, visit the website at

http://www.cr.nps.gov/crdi and click on “publications.”

September 2008 issueLink to February 2008 Heritage Matters                                                       December 2003December 2003 Heritage Matters cover

 

 

 

 

Heritage Matters, the newsletter of the Cultural Resources Diversity Program of the National Park Service.  addresses historic preservation and cultural resources activities as they pertain to diverse communities.  It informs preservation professionals about what is taking place in diverse communities, and offers these communities information about programs and resources from which they may benefit.With a circulation of nearly two thousand, Heritage Matters has a broad readershiparound the nation.  The audience includes National Park Service and other Federal, State, and local cultural resource management staff; private sector partners in the historic preservation and cultural resource management fields; professors and students at HBCUs, Hispanics-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges, and other colleges and universities; and other interested parties.

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