FRESNO — A ceremony will take place dedicating a memorial to the Fresno Assembly Center on opening day of the Big Fresno Fair, on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 12:45 p.m.
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin is among the dignitaries scheduled to participate in the dedication. Saburo Masada, who was incarcerated at the assembly center, will offer remarks.
The Fresno County Fairgrounds served as the site of the Fresno Assembly Center from May through October 1942, housing 5,344 Japanese Americans before they were sent to permanent internment camps.
Planning for the assembly center memorial has been under way since 2009. The Big Fresno Fair Board of Directors approached the committee that had completed the Pinedale Assembly Center Memorial to upgrade the memorial at the fairground site. Fresno County is the only county that had two assembly centers.
Funding for the $180,000 project was provided by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program and by contributions from Friends of the Fresno District Fair, Fresno County Office of Education, Sun-Maid Growers of California and others. Individual donors sponsored hundreds of commemorative bricks that line the perimeter of the memorial.
The original California Registered Historical Landmark No. 934 marker is now in a more prominent location as the centerpiece of the new memorial. Storyboards are illustrated with photos and commentaries by former Valley internees and their families. Banners featuring photos from the era educate visitors about the historical significance of the site.
For information on the memorial, contact Dale Ikeda at [email protected] or (559) 313-9322.