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Inquiry Question

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Visual Evidence


Drawing 1: Residential Block Layouts. [Drawing 1] with link to larger version of photo.
(National Park Service)

Questions for Drawing 1

1. Each relocation center contained 30 to 40 residential blocks, separated by open land to deter fires. Each block housed about 250 people. Using the key, identify the types of buildings included in each residential block. What activities took place in communal spaces?

2. The top row shows the plans for the residential blocks at the first centers to be built. The second row shows layouts for centers constructed later. Because the barracks were based on temporary military housing, men's and women's bathrooms at first contained only toilets, sinks, and communal showers. There were no partitions or bathtubs and very little hot water. Bathrooms at the later centers had bathtubs and partitions for the women's bathrooms. Why do you think these changes were made?

3. Each barrack contained four to six one-room apartments, ranging from 15 ft. by 20 ft. to 24 ft. by 20 ft. Each apartment housed a family or a group of single people. Eight people lived in the largest apartments. How much space did each person have? Measure your classroom. How does that compare with the sizes of the apartments?

4. Partitions between apartments did not extend all the way to the roof. One evacuee remembered: "They used cheap pine wood. The knots would fall off so we could see into a neighbor's room, and we could hear the shocking sound of voices, complaining, arguing bitterly. We weren't used to this. Our family was a gentle family. I was deeply upset because our daughter was listening, and I couldn't shut it out."¹ Why do you suppose this was so upsetting?

5. What can you learn from these plans about daily life at the relocation camps? How much privacy do you think people had? How would that affect families or individuals? How would it affect you?

¹ Fred Barbash, "In Desert Camp, Life Behind Barbed Wire," The Washington Post, December 6, 1982, cited in Erwin N. Thompson, "Manzanar Relocation Center" (Inyo County, California), National Historic Landmark documentation, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1984, 8/3.

* The drawing on this screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a larger version of Drawing 1, but be aware the file will take as much as 30 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.

 

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