48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage – Official Photo Essay

Rev. Alfred Tsuyuki of the Konko Church of Los Angeles performs the Shinto purification rite to open the interfaith service during the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at the Manzanar National Historic Site.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Mark Kirchner/Manzanar Committee

For the past handful of years, professional photographers Geri Ferguson and Mark Kirchner, who had already been photographing the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage for years, have been kind enough to share their incredible photographs with us, and they’ve done so again this year.

Indeed, they shot some gorgeous and powerful photographs of the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 29, 2017.

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New At Manzanar NHS: You’ve Got To See The Historic Women’s Latrine

The following is an updated version of a story originally published here on September 23, 2016.


Historically accurate communal toilets in the Block 14 women’s latrine at Manzanar National Historic Site. Note the absence of partitions.
(Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

INDEPENDENCE, CA — With the 25th Anniversary of Manzanar becoming a National Historic Site (March 3, 2017) being commemorated this year, and with the much more significant milestone, the 75th year since President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066, also being commemorated, the Manzanar National Historic Site continues to work on bringing two new exhibits online.

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Coming Together to Stand Up – Reflections on the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage/2017 Manzanar At Dusk

Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey addresses the crowd
during the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 29, 2017
at the Manzanar National Historic Site
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

by Bruce Embrey

In the days and weeks leading up to Saturday, April 29, the day of the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, the phone calls and e-mails poured in. There was no doubt that 2017 was the 75th year since our families, our community, were forced from their homes into horse stalls and barracks sparked interest in this year’s Pilgrimage.

People in their 80’s and 90’s, who had never been on a Pilgrimage before, called and told me their personal stories. Others were matter-of-fact: “Just the details on how to get to Manzanar,” some said. “Have to go before I cannot,” they’d say. Each and every conversation was meaningful.

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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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