Manzanar NHS At 25 Years Old: More Relevant Now Than Ever Before

The following is an expanded version of a story that will appear in the printed program for the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, April 29, 2017.


The east side of the Visitor Center at Manzanar National Historic Site.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

LOS ANGELES — A little over 25 years ago, after decades of hard work, Japanese American community activists, along with allies in California’s Owens Valley, celebrated a victory when the site of the Manzanar concentration camp, located along U.S. Highway 395 between the towns of Lone Pine and Independence, was designated as a National Historic Site on March 3, 1992, by an act of Congress.

It took twelve more years for the Manzanar National Historic Site to become a fully operational unit of the National Park Service, with its Visitor Center opening in April 2004. Since then, several physical elements of the World War II concentration camp have been reconstructed, additional exhibits continue to be developed, gardens are being excavated and rehabilitated, archaeological digs are uncovering more and more artifacts, and oral histories are being collected.

“It’s amazing,” said Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. “It took 23 years to be designated as a National Historic Site. Then, it took twelve more years to build the Visitor Center and have a grand opening in 2004. It’s an amazing accomplishment.”

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Bill Michael’s Long-Term Commitment To Manzanar Recognized With Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award

Bill Michael (left) receives the 2010 Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy
Award from Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Kerry Cababa (right)
at the 41st Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 24, 2010.
Photo: Gann Matsuda

MANZANAR NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE, NEAR INDEPENDENCE, CA — Starting in 2009, the Los Angeles-based Manzanar Committee, which sponsors the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar At Dusk programs, began honoring individuals with the Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award, named after the late chair of the Manzanar Committee who was one of the founders of the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage and was the driving force behind the creation of the Manzanar National Historic Site.

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Keith Bright To Receive Manzanar Committee’s Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award Posthumously

Keith Bright (lower right) was honored by the Eastern California Museum and the Friends of Manzanar
on April 25, 2008.
NPS Photo by Tom Clayton

LOS ANGELES — On April 15, the Los Angeles-based Manzanar Committee announced that the late Keith Bright, a long-time resident of the Owens Valley and a former Inyo County Supervisor, has been chosen as one of the 2010 recipients of the Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy “Baka Guts” Award.

Bill Michael, the former Director of the Eastern California Museum in Independence, California, was also named as a recipient (see Bill Michael Named Co-Recipient of Manzanar Committee’s Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award).

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Bill Michael Named Co-Recipient of Manzanar Committee’s Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award

Bill Michael
Photo: Alisa Lynch

LOS ANGELES — On April 15, the Los Angeles-based Manzanar Committee announced that long-time Eastern Sierra local Bill Michael has been chosen as one of the 2010 recipients of the Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy “Baka Guts” Award.

The late Keith Bright, a former Inyo County Supervisor who served on the Manzanar National Historic Site Advisory Commission, was also named as a recipient (see Keith Bright To Receive Manzanar Committee’s Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award Posthumously).

The award, named after the late chair of the Manzanar Committee who was one of the founders of the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage and was the driving force behind the creation of the Manzanar National Historic Site, will be presented at the 41st Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, scheduled for 12:00 PM PDT on Saturday, April 24, 2010, at the Manzanar National Historic Site, located on U.S. Highway 395 in California’s Owens Valley, between the towns of Lone Pine and Independence, approximately 230 miles north of Los Angeles.

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