Manzanar Hosts Summer Events

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INDEPENDENCE — This summer, Manzanar will host two authors and a series of oral history video screenings. All programs are free and open to the public.

With the exception of a guided walk on the morning of July 27, all programs will take place in the Manzanar National Historic Site Visitor Center, located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence.

• Join historian, author, and Owens Valley native Jane Wehrey on Saturday, June 22, at 1 p.m. as she explores the many meanings of this bold and beautiful land that John Muir called “a country of wonderful contrasts.” She will draw from a rich photographic record to demonstrate how landscape and history in this “deepest valley” are woven together in legacies of conflict, community-building, and inspired achievement.

On Sunday, June 23, Wehrey will sign her books (“The Owens Valley,” “Manzanar,” and “Voices from This Long Brown Land: Oral Recollections of Owens Valley Lives and Manzanar Pasts”) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Dr. Kendall Brown, author of the recent book “Quiet Beauty: Japanese Gardens of North America,” will lead visitors on a morning walk through Merritt Park (along the auto tour road) and the Block 34 and hospital gardens on Saturday, July 27, at 10 a.m.

The afternoon program at 2 p.m. in the Visitor Center will focus on the gardens created at Manzanar during World War II and the pivotal place camp gardens hold in the larger history of Japanese-style gardens on this continent. Between programs, Brown will sign copies of his book.

• In addition to the author programs, rangers will host screenings of selected oral history interviews from among more than 370 conducted by Manzanar staff over the past decade. Some interviews are also available online at www.densho.org. All screenings will take place at 2 p.m. in the Visitor Center.

The screenings started on June 7 with Henry Nishi — “Once it got rolling, everybody wanted to plant. The soil was good. There was plenty of water. And there was plenty of material, too, especially locust trees.”

Friday, July 5: Elaine (Clary) Stanley — “They told me it would be a Japanese relocation center, and it would be all Japanese, and that was fine with me. As long as I could teach physical education I was happy!”

Friday, Aug. 2:  Momo Nagano — “Ironically, when my youngest daughter was at Smith, we found a letter from my older brother, who at that time was at Yale University, and he had written to my father and there was a p.s. at the very bottom saying, ‘Tell Momo to forget about Smith. They won’t accept Japanese Americans.’”

The Manzanar Visitor Center features 8,000 square feet of exhibits, an award-winning introductory film, and a bookstore operated by the non-profit Manzanar History Association. Additional buildings open to the public include a restored World War II-era mess hall and two reconstructed barracks. The Visitor Center is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. A self-guided auto tour is available any time during daylight hours.

To learn more, visit www.nps.gov/manz or call (760) 878-2194 ext. 3310. Manzanar is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ManzanarNationalHistoricSite.

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