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Title: Mas Akiyama Interview
Narrator: Mas Akiyama
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Spokane, Washington
Date: March 15, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-amas-01-0020

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TI: So how, how about housing? After the war, were Japanese Americans, did they start moving outside of the downtown area?

MA: Yes.

TI: And was that, was that difficult for Japanese to live in different neighborhoods?

MA: Yes. There were more real estate companies, more or less had a "color line." You can only buy houses up a certain street. First it was up around Seventh Avenue and Cowley, around there. And then a little later on, they extended that color line past Sherman and up to Fourteenth Avenue. And at that time, I was looking for a house, and I bought a house on Sheridan, which is one block west of the color line, and I was able get away from that color line. And from there on, they did away with that color line.

TI: Well, how, how did they enforce the color line? How did you know where that line was? I mean, what would happen?

MA: Well, your real estate says, "Well, you can't buy a house over there."

TI: And did people ever ask why or really want --

MA: No, they just said that's, that's as far as you can buy. You know that they're discriminating, but...

TI: Now, was this, you said "color line," was this true for Chinese, Korean, blacks and other people like that?

MA: I think so. Blacks, blacks and Orientals. But they were able to extend that after, oh, I think they, well, into the '60s they were able to do away with the color line. Like I was able to buy a house up on Thirty-ninth where I live now, that was in the '70s.

TI: Interesting.

MA: People didn't like us up there, but I got along real well with the people there.

TI: So when you moved in the '70s, you were one of the few sort of people of color to live up there?

MA: Uh-huh, yeah.

TI: Like Asian or black.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.