Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Sally Sudo Interview
Narrator: Sally Sudo
Interviewer: Steve Ozone
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 12, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-ssally-01-0013

<Begin Segment 13>

SO: When did you start going around the schools to talk about the relocation?

SS: I actually started doing that quite soon after I retired from the classroom. During the years that I was teaching, there were a number of opportunities right in my own building where a Social Studies teacher was teaching about that topic and they would ask me to come into their classroom. It was always a little hard to do because you had to find somebody else that would watch your class for you while you did this other thing, so it never really worked out that well, but I did it a couple of times when I was still teaching and then after that I started going around more and more because I got involved with the JACL and they formed this education committee and from that they had a speakers bureau. My brother Tom was another one who did a lot of that kind of speaking. So between Tom and myself, and there were two or three others, we did the bulk of it. In those days the schools used to have a publication called The Community Resources, where a teacher could look to find information of outside resource people on different topics and we would always be listed as someone who could come and talk about the internment or our experiences during World War II, but now with the lack of funds they don't have publications like that anymore and more or less now it's just word of mouth. So the ones I go to now are the one where they keep calling me back year after year and I've spoken to their classes before.

SO: What kind of a reaction do you get from the kids?

SS: I was surprised that there were students who actually would challenge me and say, "That didn't happen in America" and "I never heard about that."

SO: Was there a certain period of time when that happened?

SS: I would say when I first started going out talking, that happened more. But now it seems that they're getting more of it in their schools and they're more aware of it, but I was surprised that there were those at the beginning who thought I was making up a story. But I could understand that because, really, I think if you lived on the West Coast you are very aware of what happened, but here in the Midwest people wouldn't be as aware. In fact, I was kind of stunned that one of my medical doctors I went to, when he was just getting acquainted with me and he was getting my background, and I told him about the fact that I was in an internment camp, he said to me, "Oh yes, we had one of those here." I said, "No, we didn't." He said, "Yes, at Fort Snelling." And I said, "Those were American boys serving in the military," and he thought they were Japanese prisoners of war. And this is a highly educated person. It's just amazing.

SO: What about the kids that did believe it?

SS: The ones that did know something about it, either it was often through their parents or some other way that they heard about it, not so much from studying about it in school. And then after talks, often the teacher would have them write comments and letters to me to thank me and so forth. And I would often get comments from the students and they would apologize. "I'm so sorry that this happened to you and our country should have never done anything like that and I'm surprised that you're not as bitter as I think you should be," and comments like that.

SO: Was the JACL here active as far as redress?

SS: I know too much about their activities during redress because I wasn't... during that time I was still living in Japan. I think the redress movement started in the '70s and I think a lot of it started on the West Coast if I'm not wrong?

SO: Yes.

SS: And by then we had Sanseis who were lawyers or people serving in Congress and so that helped our cause, but I am not too familiar with what happened here. All I know is that, I know that Sam Honda was one of the active citizens here, I know he was quite involved in the redress, but I think he was living in Chicago at that time and not here in the Twin Cities, so I'm not quite sure what happened here.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.