The Camp Without a Fence: Nikkei Farm Laborers in Malheur County During WWII

June 30, 2014 at 7PM

On May 20, 1942, the War Relocation Authoritygranted permission for 400 Japanese and Japanese Americans to move from the Portland Assembly Center to Malheur County, Oregon, to provide critical labor for that year's sugar beet crop, which numbered more than 12,000 acres. From May until October, the majority who volunteered for beet labor were housed in a Farm Security Administration tent camp, just outside the town of Nyssa, on the Snake River. It was the first such labor camp created during the World War II incarceration of Nikkei. By the end of 1945, thousands, nearly 12 percent of the 120,000 incarcerated during the war, worked in the beet fields across the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain states. Speaker Morgen Young is a consulting historian and the project director for "Uprooted: Japanese American Farm Labor Camps During World War II," a traveling exhibition sponsored by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission.