Poston Pilgrimage

Poston was one of the 10 War Relocation Centers in the Uinited States during WWII and one of the largest prison consisting of 3 camps holding some 17,000 prisoners. At the time, the camp was the 3rd largest “city” in Arizona.

I really wanted to be a part of this pilgrimage as it was in Poston III that my mom and her family (my grandparents, uncles and aunts were imprisoned at) We spent the day traveling to the site which is now mainly alfalfa fields. The government had the Japanese Americans “volunteer” to develop the land and help with the agriculture infrastructure for the Indians that would remain after the war.

We visited the memorial which is just a tiny spot of the huge 9 mile area they used for the 3 camps. They also passed out maps which showed where the barracks were, so I was able to stand very close to where the actual Poston III camp… The wind was howling and the dust was flying, and I could only imagine how it might have been with uncultivated lands and even more dust. Poston was considered so remote that authorities decided it was unnecessary to build guard towers.

I want to end with part of an anonymous poem written by an internee that sums up life in the camp for the Japanese Americans…

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The Poston Pilgrimage is hosted by Poston Preservation Project . Please follow them for more information of their mission to preserve the stories, artifacts and historic structures of the Poston Confinement Site. -------