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-01-0007

<Begin Segment 7>

SO: So you went to school and continued on through high school?

SS: Yes.

SO: As you're growing up, did you experience racism?

SS: Yes, actually, when we first moved into this house that we lived in South Minneapolis, we were the only Japanese family for several miles around, I'm sure. I know a boy through all the schools -- grade school, junior high school, high school, we were always the only Japanese in the schools. And so it wasn't, it was just a matter of days when we started getting hate mail saying, you know, "We don't want any Japs in the neighborhood. Get out or else," kind of threatening letters. They were kind of frightening to me, I mean, you never knew how serious these people were. So we weren't exactly welcomed with open arms.

SO: Did anybody come to your defense?

SS: Yes, and the fact that at our house was directly across the street from a church, and people in that church kind of took our family under their wing. And especially the neighbor that lived directly across from us who was a member of that church, he used to come over all the time and do things like, well, he was an amateur filmmaker and so he was making these 8-millimeter films of our family and then he would have us go on walks around the neighborhood, he would kind of lead all of us and tell us that we could hold out heads up high, we didn't have to be ashamed of anything, and just walk around with us.

SO: So all of your friends were Caucasian.

SS: Yes, so then the friends I made here from grade school on were all Caucasian friends, yes.

SO: Where did you go to high school?

SS: I went to Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis.

SO: At that time, what was the racial mix?

SS: In Roosevelt High School I would say a very small minority, mostly white Caucasian. As I said, our family was the only Asian family there. I remember only one African American in my class. Other than that, a lot of Scandinavians, Norwegian, Swedish -- a lot of Andersons, Olsens, Johnsons, names like that. I know it's very different now, but that's the way it was when we went to school there.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.