Densho Digital Repository
Emi Kuboyama, Office of Redress Administration (ORA) Oral History Project Collection
Title: Angela Noel Gantt Interview
Narrator: Angela Noel Gantt
Interviewer: Emi Kuboyama
Location: Washington, D.C.
Date: May 20, 2019
> Densho ID: ddr-densho-1020-4-1

<Begin Segment 1>

EK: This is Emi Kuboyama of Stanford University here with Angela Gantt in Washington, D.C. It is May 20, 2019. Angela, could we start with you stating your name and where you were born and raised and your educational background?

AG: So I am Angela Noel Gantt, I've been here at the Department for a long time, so I use all three names. I was born in Wilmington, Delaware, so the "First State." And I have an undergraduate in city development and urban planning with a Masters in higher education with a special emphasis on students in higher ed.

EK: And could you talk about your role with the Office of Redress... actually, first, could you start with your work experience prior to ORA and then talk about your role and your beginnings with the office?

AG: So I came to the metropolitan area to go to the University of Maryland, College Park. And while there did a variety of things. I was a residence hall director as well as a residence hall assistant. And then towards the end of college I started to look for a stay in school work study intern program, and I came to the Office of Redress. Alicie West Simpson was the person that hired me, and literally I walked off the street. And I've always really been proud of that because a lot of times you would find that people were like, oh, it was back in the day, so I'll bring your kid in, you bring my kid in, it'll work out. But literally I walked off the street, had a conversation with Alicie, and started there. Prior to that, I was a party hostess at the McDonald's, that's what I did all day long, which is not surprising when people know me. They're like, who knew McDonald's did parties? They did, and the cake was delicious. So really in higher ed. working with students, student engagement activities, student government, all those ended up being paying positions during the summers after my sophomore year. Maryland has a big conference component where Odyssey of the Mind, chess tournaments, other universities would rent out our residence halls, and so my staff would do the hospitality service. From turning the rooms over to leading tours, to doing student orientation. So we did all those things and then those led up to my senior year, really my senior spring, I was living off campus, and so I wanted to get a real job. And I applied because I had been an independent student. At that time at Maryland if you were a resident assistant, it paid for your room and your board and your meal plan. So yeah, it was a full package, and so all I had to do was tuition, which, it hurts my feelings to say, it was eight hundred dollars then. Not so much today.

But I did that, and so then I came to work for Alicie, and was in the Special Verification Unit. And so we were the group that dealt with unique cases. At the time we were really focused on gentlemen who were serving in the military units, because they hadn't necessarily been thought of in the beginning. Because you weren't really in, particularly if they had registered for the military before the situation happened in December when the war started. So we worked with those groups, we were doing research on the Germans that were involved and were making claims, and that morphed into eventually the Japanese Latin Americans, the Hawaiians and others, and non-Japanese individuals who were impacted. A white wife married to a Japanese man who decided to go to Tule Lake, so we started to research those groups. So it was a great team and a great experience. For a period of time I was on the telephone line, and "Angela" is just not an easy Japanese word to say, so then I became "Amy," which worked out really well, because my sister's name was Amy. So at work I was Amy, and at home I was Angela.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2019 Emi Kuboyama. All Rights Reserved.