Jamillah Gabriel: From Relocation to Internment to Detention (and Everything in Between)

In the past couple of weeks, a flurry of articles have been published about concentration camps and their place in American society and history. My mentor shared them with me and I have found them useful in contextualizing my work with the Japanese American internment cards. I’m reminded of how my LEADS project and the data I’m working with are still relevant today, when concentrations camps can’t be relegated to the past and, in fact, are very much a reincarnated racist reality in the present. Three of the four articles sent to me (listed below) connect the history of Japanese American internment camps with current issues around the migrant detention camps that have been implemented to detain migrant children crossing the border from Mexico, and highlight the fact that this, unfortunately, is history repeating itself. For instance, Ft. Sill, which is now a migrant detention center, was founded in 1869 and was once “a relocation camp for Native Americans, a boarding school for Native children separated from their families, and an internment camp for 700 Japanese American men in 1942” (Hennessy-Fiske, 2019). Its unmitigated and irreconcilable history is a continued legacy of racial difference, segregation, and discrimination. All of the articles reinforce the importance of this project that I (and two other LEADS fellows before me) am working on, but the last piece written by the granddaughter of a survivor of the Japanese American incarcerations is truly the most motivating factor for this work: so that former internees and their family members can know their own histories.




Friedman, M. (2019, June 19). American concentration camps: A history lesson for Liz Cheney. The Typescript. Retrieved from http://thetypescript.com/american-concentration-camps-a-history-lesson-for-liz-cheney

 Hennessey-Fiske, M. (2019, June 22). Japanese internment camp survivors protest Ft. Sill migrant detention center. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-japanese-internment-fort-sill-2019-story.html

 Provost, L. (2019, June 22). Prepared for arrest: Japanese-Americans protest at Fort Sill over incoming migrant children. The Duncan Banner. Retrieved from https://www.duncanbanner.com/news/prepared-for-arrest-japanese-americans-protest-at-fort-still-over/article_789070aa-9542-11e9-8107-9fcd6387dce9.html

 Sakurai, C. (2019, June 25). More than a name in the census: Piecing together the story of my grandmother’s life. National Japanese American Historical Society. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/notes/national-japanese-american-historical-society/more-than-a-name-in-the-census-piecing-together-the-story-of-my-grandmothers-lif/2679119588783598


Jamillah R. Gabriel, PhD Student, MLIS, MA
School of Information Sciences
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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