The Daily Mash-Up

Tuesday, December 01, 2015 This Week's Paper
Film and Panel Discussion bring Internment to Light

Join the Fife History Museum for the second free event in a series related to the latest exhibit Rights, Rations, Remembrance: Fife in World War II taking place on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. The event includes a showing of the controversial World War II documentary by director Frank Abe, Conscience and the Constitution, followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker and local historian.

Conscience and the Constitution reveals the long-untold story of the organized draft resistance at the American concentration camp at Heart Mountain, Wyoming, and the suppression of that resistance by Japanese American leaders.

A lively discussion featuring Abe, local historian Ronald Magden, Tacoma attorney Daniel C. Russ, and Puyallup Valley chapter head of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Elsie Taniguchi will follow the showing of the film.

Magden, a highly regarded educator and author with long-time roots in Pierce Country who alto taught at Tacoma Community College for many years after graduating in 1965 with a PhD in History from the University of Washington, is known by many for spending over thirty years of his life dedicated to the telling of history and development of longshore union activity on the Pacific Coast.

He is respected for his well researched volume Furusato: Tacoma-Pierce County Japanese, 1888-1977, published by the Tacoma Longshore Book and Research Committee in 1998, which provides what may be the most comprehensive look at Tacoma’s Japanese community.

Daniel Russ graduated with his J.D. from the Seattle University School of Law. Currently, he is a partner at Britton and Russ, PLLC, with offices in Tacoma and Puyallup, and a Lt. Colonel (JAG) in the Washington Air National Guard.

Besides serving on numerous boards of directors for charitable organizations, Russ is also active with the JACL and is spearheading a collaborative effort to preserve the history of Camp Harmony at the Washington State Fairgrounds.

A distinguished member of the JACL, Elsie Taniguchi currently serves as the head of the Puyallup Valley chapter. She was interned with her family at Camp Harmony in 1942 before being sent to Camp Minidoka for the duration of the war. After being contacted by the Fife History Museum, Taniguchi was instrumental in assisting in developing the museum’s collections and exhibition of Japanese and Japanese American artifacts related to Fife’s history. The museum’s collections include numerous artifacts her family used while interned.

Former broadcast journalist and award-winning reporter for KIRO News Radio in Seattle, Frank Abe is producer/director of Conscience and the Constitution.

He is a founding member of the Seattle chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association and served as national vice-president for broadcast. He first served as Director of Communications for former King County Executive Gary Locke in 1994, then for the Metropolitan King County Council and now presently serves in the same post for current King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Abe is a third-generation Japanese American whose pre-broadcast days as a pioneering actor and community activist has drawn decades of respect and admiration from his peers. He helped produced the very first “Day of Remembrance” in the country, which dramatized the campaign for redress for survivors of America’s wartime concentration camps. He helped found the Asian American Theatre Company in San Francisco and was featured in the 1976 NBC/Universal TV movie Farewell to Manzanar as a concentration camp leader.

Other Upcoming Events:

Saturday, October 19, 1pm-3pm: Younger audiences will enjoy a chance to learn about the experience of local Japanese Americans forced into the interment camps by attending the museums first free make ‘n take craft project for children and their families.

Led by local artist Mizu Sugimura, whose then teenaged parents were both residents of the US government’s wartime concentration camps, the visitors will be shown how to create their own furoshiki – a traditional way Japanese carted clothing at bathhouses and small, miscellaneous items, by stamping a suitcase on pre-cut cloth squares. These furoshiki serve as a reminder that internees had about one week or less to select and pack into two suitcases “only what they could carry” before they were forced to leave their homes and businesses along the West Coast of the United States.

Sugimura is also current vice chairperson, City of Fife Public Arts Commission.

Thursday, November 14, 7pm: Join us at the Fife History Museum for a lecture from Joseph Govednik, a collector with a vast knowledge of arms and weaponry used by forces from various countries on both sides of World War II. Govednik holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology, and masters degrees in Anthropology, Business Administration and Museum Studies. He serves on numerous boards including: Washington Museums Association, Heritage League of Pierce County and Tacoma Waterfront Association and is an active player on many other organizations and councils.

In addition to an informative talk, Govednik plans to show specific examples actually used by the troops to museum audiences. His remarks will focus on sharing the history of wartime armaments of various countries over the years of conflict.

The Fife History Museum and Dacca Barn are located at 2820 - 54th Avenue East, Fife, WA. Admission to the Fife History Museum is always free.

For additional information about the Fife History Museum or any of the programs listed here please contact Molly Wilmoth by calling the museum at (253) 896-4710, send an email to or find us on Facebook at Fife History Museum.

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