Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Gordon Hirabayashi Interview V
Narrator: Gordon Hirabayashi
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary), Alice Ito (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 4, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-hgordon-05-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Today is May 3rd, the year 2000 -- May 4th, year 2000. My watch is off, sorry about that. And this is the fifth interview that we've done. We started a little more than a year ago. And just to give some context of why you're here this time, I just wanted to mention that you're here because the University of Washington is honoring you as their distinguished alumnus for the year 2000, just to let the viewers know that, the context of why you're in Seattle this time. But this is the fifth one. And where we're picking up is the last, where I want to pick up is where the, your first trial in Seattle is over, and you've spent the last nine months in the King County jail, the fed tank in the King County jail. And you finally arranged for, to be on bail to go to Spokane. And this was worked out by Floyd Schmoe with the AFSC to do this. And so where I want to pick up is really the trip from Seattle to Spokane. And so if you could just pick it up there and explain how you got from Seattle to Spokane.

GH: Yeah. If I'd known what arrangements had been made, I could have raised more questions and prevented some of the things from happening. I thought, I thought I was being moved as part of the government process, and so getting a sleeper unit, even though I didn't have the sleeper to myself, was an extra privilege. People are sleeping on the seats. So afterwards, they were surprised that one officer was in a bunk of his own, and then two of us were put into a bunk, the other bunk, you know it's a two-decker. And another officer was in sort of a couch, couch bed. And so there are two officers and two of us in that sleeping quarters. And Floyd said his group paid for that, and thought that there would be one, one bunk for me and one bunk for one officer. And I said, he's, he learned of this later and was quite upset about it. But it was all done by then. And I didn't know that the arrangements were different than -- we really got cheated. [Laughs]

TI: Well, in addition to the cramped quarters, why was it needed to have an officer with you? You were out on bail, and couldn't they have just released you and you have gone on your own to Spokane? Because you were going to Spokane --

GH: No. It's restricted area. A U.S. marshal had to be there, too. So there's one officer and then the FBI guy, and then, then what they thought was just me as the prisoner. They took the opportunity to save money and brought another prisoner they were transferring, I think a native person was being transferred. I don't know how far they, we were together. So we were sharing the bunk. And he, he was going to sleep -- I was interested, so I was talking with one of the officials for most of the way over. And they, and one of the officers got a good night's sleep. You know if you, there are some people that can't sleep if somebody's talking. But others can, they're used to sleeping in lectures and so on. [Laughs] So there's situations where you could sleep under any circumstance.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2000 Densho. All Rights Reserved.