World War II Japanese-American Internment Museum
Memorial at Rohwer, Arkansas, Cemetery, site of the Rohwer internment camp. Photo credit: Jamie Brandon-CC
McGehee Railroad Depot. The WWII Japanese-American Internment Museum opened here in 2013.
Backstory and Context
War hysteria, racial prejudice, and failure of political leadership led to the forced removal of 120,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Two-thirds of those incarcerated were American-born citizens, most under 21 years old. These Americans were imprisoned in 10 camps across the United States, including Rohwer and Jerome in Desha County, Arkansas.
The World War II Japanese-American Internment Museum opened in 2013 inside the railroad depot. Since its opening, thousands of visitors from all 50 states and from 44 countries have toured the Museum.
In 1945, two large concrete monuments were erected in the Rohwer Memorial Cemetery. The first monument was dedicated to all those who died while incarcerated at Rohwer. The second monument commemorates the young men who fought and lost their lives while serving in Europe in the United States Army’s "Go For Broke" 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
Restoration work at the Rohwer Japanese American Relocation Center Cemetery was recognized in 2015 by the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas for Excellence in Preservation Through Restoration.
Little remains of the Jerome and Rohwer prison camps, which now are surrounded by farmland and some portions on private land, however their locations can be viewed. The Rohwer Relocation Center Memorial Cemetery can be viewed during daylight hours, with parking on the gravel road into the cemetery.
Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot-McGehee. Wikipedia. . Accessed April 16, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_Pacific_Railroad_Depot-McGehee.
"JA Internment Museum Dedicated in Arkansas 1." Rafu Shimpo(Los Angeles) April 24, 2013. . https://www.rafu.com/2013/04/ja-internment-museum-dedicated-in-arkansas/
National and State Historic Landmarks and Places. Desha County Historical Society. . Accessed April 16, 2018. http://deshacountyhistorical.org/Historic%20Sites.htm.