Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Henry Miyatake Interview II
Narrator: Henry Miyatake
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 4, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mhenry-02-0009

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TI: What was the reaction of, of others? I mean others meaning the administration and other people in camp. I guess especially adults because I imagine that this might have been a little controversial.

HM: Well I, I didn't realize at that time that, that Gordon was not well thought of, in terms of the JACL. And in fact the JACL made a strong effort to keep any donations from, donations and collections generated for Gordon's behalf. And in fact they, they made a point to say that nobody should donate monies to Gordon's cause. Well unbeknownst to some of the teachers, well we started a collection fund for him. And then I had a...

TI: This was your, your 7th grade class. Or not 7th grade, but your 9th grade, your 9th grade?

HM: No, this was a jun... or, the freshman class.

TI: Your freshman class.

HM: None of us had very much money to begin with, so that was a problem. But I had a visit from one of the people and I don't, I don't even remember who he was now. And he says, "I understand you people had Gordon Hirabayashi as a lecturer for your class." So I said, "Yeah." And, "Were you the one that were, was instrumental in getting him invited?" And I said, "I guess so." And he said, "Well we don't want you to collect any money for him or we don't want you to make any effort to help his effort." And he introduced himself and he said he was one of the members of the Japanese American Citizens League. And I thought to myself, "This guy's trying to do a good cause for Japanese Americans in general and why is this guy telling me I shouldn't do anything for him?" I was confused at that point.

So the following school day... that happened on a Saturday I believe. The following school day I went to Mrs. Pollock and I said, "You know, I had a visit from this person and they don't want us to collect the money. So I think we better think about what we're doing, and figure out which way we should go." And she said, "Well I'm not familiar with this kind of opposition." And she was really appalled. She was taken aback and she didn't know what to think. But the, the faculty members in the freshman class, Mr. Coombs as well as Mrs. Pollock, and there was one other instructor, felt that Gordon's message was very, very important message and that we should try to document it or at least make a record of it. So he had his core class -- which is English and Literature and some of this other stuff that comprises Language Arts -- they wrote a kind of summary of what they heard from Gordon. And he was trying to get it published in the camp paper but they wouldn't publish any of it. [Chuckles] So at that time I was kind of confused. Here's a guy that's trying to test the constitutionality of what happened and I get visits from people that say you shouldn't be doing this, and we can't even get our articles published in the camp newspaper. I was kind of confused at that point.

TI: So the freshman teachers were, were supportive of getting this, this article in the I believe it's the, the Minidoka Irrigator.

HM: Yes, yes.

TI: Who, who opposed it?

HM: I don't know.

TI: Was it, was it the administration or is it the, the...

HM: It just wasn't published. None of the summaries were published and in fact there was a couple of them that were very good. They were very well written. I forgot who they were, but they were very well written summaries of Gordon's presentation.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.