At the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains in California’s Owens Valley, lies the site called Manzanar.
During World War II, over 11,000 men, women, and children of Japanese descent were forcibly removed from their homes and transported to the “Manzanar War Relocation Center” with only the possessions they could carry. Manzanar was one of ten concentration camps erected primarily in the western states within months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, to round up and hold captive over 120,000 people who had done absolutely nothing to betray their country. Approximately two-thirds of these individuals were U.S. citizens! During those three and a half years of incarceration, they lived behind barbed wire fences with armed U.S. soldiers keeping watch in guard towers.
Growing up in Southern California, photographer Brian Goodman didn’t know anything about it.
"In 1977, on one of my many skiing trips up to Mammoth Mountain, I discovered a rough patch of unmarked land along Highway 395 with a few odd structures on it that drew me in," Goodman said. "I didn’t know what it was, but as I walked the dusty, desert land overgrown with brush and debris, I realized that something significant had happened there."
The Peninsula College PUB Gallery of Art is featuring a digital exhibition on their Facebook page that includes select works from Goodman's photographic series entitled, "Manzanar: Their Footsteps Remain - 40 Years of Photography." An interview about the series and Brian's artistic vision can be found on the page as well as on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/c5WXMbHPaI4.
Goodman will present an artist talk for Peninsula College's Studium Generale on Thursday, March 4 at 12:30pm via Zoom. The event is free and open to the public. Participants can join in the free presentation and discussion at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82419155703.
"Today, 75 years later, in the post 9/11 world that we live in, it’s more important than ever that we look back at places like Manzanar and learn from our history," Goodman said. "We must educate ourselves and teach our children to look beyond their fear, to be compassionate and tolerant."
Photo: "Soul Consoling Tower, Cemetery, and the Sierra Nevada", 2015. One of the few remaining structures left after the camp was dismantled, sold off and bulldozed. The oblisk monument in the camps cemetery was designed and built by incarceree stonemason Ryozo Kado and is inscribed with Japanese characters which translate to “Soul Consoling Tower”.