Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Masako Yoshida Interview
Narrator: Masako Yoshida
Interviewer: Kristen Luetkemeier
Location: Monterey Park, California
Date: August 14, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-ymasako-01-0015

<Begin Segment 15>

KL: Were you part of a church community or any, you mentioned sporting team. Was there any classes you took?

MY: You mean...

KL: In Poston, were you part of community life, were you part of a church?

MY: Well, we all went to the church services, but it was not a small community. They just had it outdoors and we all went, that's all. I don't know that they had any Buddhist services, but I know they had Christian services. When they started it we went to worship. I don't know about the Japanese-speaking, but we all went.

KL: And it was a big gathering?

MY: Oh, yeah.

KL: How was church different in Poston than at home?

MY: Oh, you just take your own chairs and that's it. And then the minister speaks, it was outdoors, just like maybe a Billy Graham outdoors, outdoor speech, that's how it was. We went because it was a social gathering more or less, I think.

KL: Was it a similar structure to home?

MY: Uh-huh, the hymns and everything, Bible reading, yes.

KL: Did you ever have any contact with... so Poston is on a tribal reservation, the Colorado River Indian tribe. So did you ever have any contact with tribal members?

MY: Not at all, not at all. But there was a Mr. Moody who was working on the, he was there, and he was an Indian. But you know what I didn't like about him, his son refused, there was one, when the teachers from Hawaii started coming from different areas, they started coming in to teach in Poston, there was one black lady, and they refused to eat with a black person, and they would eat by our trash cans instead. And we never felt that, we never knew about segregation, and we thought, "How odd." But he was Mr. Moody's son would never eat... and he was a half, too. Moody's wife was blond, and then the child was half Indian and half white, I guess you'd call it. So I don't know, we didn't know why he would not eat in a room with blacks. That was our first feeling of the blacks being segregated.

KL: She was Hawaiian?

MY: She was white.

KL: The black person was Hawaiian?

MY: No, the black person was a teacher, I think. I don't know where she came from, but I remember there was a black teacher. Well, by then we didn't go to school because they didn't have any college classes, but they did have, start classes for grammar school.

KL: Did you say there was a group of Hawaiian teachers, or did I hear wrong?

MY: From Hawaii, yes. Because I know one, Mr. Sasnowsky who brought a cello, and so I got to play the cello again. And we had our own symphony orchestra, and were able to play. They were from Hawaii, yes.

KL: It sounds like the teachers were a pretty diverse group.

MY: I would think so, but they all lived by themselves. They didn't mingle with us, and they did not mingle with the staff either, I don't think. The teachers would stay by themselves, and the staff would stay by themselves, and mostly were engineers I would think, building the place. I think that was more of the staff, engineers.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.