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Christianity, Social Justice, and the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II$
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Anne M. Blankenship

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469629209

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469629209.001.0001

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The Attack on Pearl Harbor and Executive Order 9066

The Attack on Pearl Harbor and Executive Order 9066

(p.15) 1 The Attack on Pearl Harbor and Executive Order 9066
Christianity, Social Justice, and the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II

Anne M. Blankenship

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter One explores the initial reactions of Japanese and white Christians to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and incarceration of coastal Japanese Americans. Progressive Christians leapt to the defense of Japanese in the United States, but the East Coast leaders of mainline Protestant and Catholic organizations instructed their constituents to cease protests when the military announced its decision to incarcerate all West Coast Nikkei. Many leaders on the West Coast agreed that dissent might limit their ability to provide aid or deemed protest during a time of national crisis inappropriate. While diversity existed within each religious group, this chapter compares the bold, decisive actions of individual Quakers and the American Friends Service Committee, the cooperative inclinations of well-intentioned but cautious Protestant leaders, the independent solutions of Catholics, and the determined perseverance of Japanese Christians. Most Catholics working with Japanese in the United States were affiliated with the Maryknoll mission society, while most Protestant workers were affiliated with Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, Presbyterian, or Episcopalian organizations. The chapter’s narrative focuses on the Christian communities of Seattle, Washington. Gordon Hirabayashi, a local college student, defied the incarceration on Christian grounds, and white Christian leaders helped the Japanese community settle their affairs before the military removed them to temporary assembly centers.

Keywords:   Social activism, American Friends Service Committee, Gordon Hirabayashi, assembly centers, Maryknoll, Seattle, Washington

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