See how photographer Ansel Adams captured life inside a Japanese internment camp.

Barely three months after Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, allowing for the relocation of anyone on the West Coast deemed a threat to national security.

Soon, nearly 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry (many born in America and half of them children) were assigned identification numbers and loaded into buses, trains, and cars with just a few of their belongings. After a brief stay at temporary encampments, they were moved to 10 permanent, but quickly constructed, relocation centers — better known as internment camps.


Departing for relocation. Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

In 1943, renowned photographer Ansel Adams visited one of the camps.

Adams was best known for his landscape photography, with his work appearing in galleries and museums across the country. But he welcomed the opportunity to see and capture life at the Manzanar War Relocation Center in the fall of 1943.

Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

These are just a few dozen of his photos capturing the unthinkable experience of being a prisoner of war in your own country.

Life at the internment camp was hard on the body and spirit.

1. Nestled in Owens Valley, California, between the Inyo and Sierra Nevada mountains, the camp faced harsh conditions.


Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

There were relentless blasts of desert dust, heat during the day, and punishingly cold temperatures at night.

2. There were 10,000 people crowded into 504 barracks at Manzanar, covering about 36 blocks.

Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

3. Each barrack was divided into four rooms, shared toilets, showers, and a dining area, offering families little to no privacy or personal space.

Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

Furnishings and creature comforts were sparse. Just a cot, a straw-filled mattress, and blankets. Up to eight individuals shared a 20-by-25-foot room.

4. Due to the severe emotional toll and inadequate medical care, some Japanese Americans died in the camps.

Marble monument with inscription that reads "Monument for the Pacification of Spirits." Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

Others, including some at Manzanar, were killed by guards, allegedly forresisting orders.

Though he was a civilian employed by the military, Adams was able to capture aspects of the camp that the government didn't want depicted in his work.

5. The housing section at Manzanar was surrounded by barbed wire and patrolled by military police.


Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

But shots of armed soldiers, guard towers, or barbed wire weren't allowed, so Adams worked around it. Instead, he captured these subjects in the background or the shadows.

6. So while he couldn't take a photo of the guard tower, he took one from the top of it.

Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

As serious as conditions were, internees attempted to make the most of an unimaginable situation.

7. They were allowed to play organized sports, like volleyball.

Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

8. Baseball games were popular too.


Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

To maintain order, teams of players from each center were allowed to travel from camp to camp to play ball.

9. Churches and boys and girls clubs were established.

A Sunday school class at the internment camp. Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

10. There were singing groups.

The choir rehearses. Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

11. And even a YMCA.

Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

In the face of adversity, everyone did their best to stay busy.

12. Kids went to school...


Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

13. ...had recess...

Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

14. ...and studied for uncertain futures, all behind barbed wire.

Students listen to a science lesson. Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

15. The adults worked inside Manzanar. Some maintained the dusty, arid fields.

There were 5,500 acres of land for agriculture at Manzanar. Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

16. They grew crops like leafy greens and squash.

Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

17. Or raised cattle.

Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

18. Others worked as welders...

Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

19. ...nurses...

A nurse tends to babies at the orphanage. Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

20. ...scientists...

Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

21. ...or shopkeepers.

Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

22. Workers earned $12 to $19 a month. Some pooled their earnings to start a general store, newspaper, and barbershop.

Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

By the end of the war, more than 11,000 Japanese Americans had been processed through the Manzanar camp.

And despite being held for supposedly posing a threat to national security, not one Japanese American was charged with espionage.


Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress.

The Manzanar camp closed in 1945. Japanese Americans returned to neighborhoods and homes they barely recognized. And 45 years later, they received a formal apology.

In 1988, after a decade-long campaign, Congress passed The Civil Liberties Act, which required the government to pay $20,000 in reparations to each internment camp survivor. In 1990, the first of nine redress payments was made. A 107-year-old reverend, Mamoru Eto, was the first to receive his payment. Later, President George H.W. Bush delivered a formal apology.

"I took that as evidence that — in spite of the things the government did — this is a country that was big enough to say, 'We were wrong, we're sorry," one survivor told the BBC.

By standing up to hysteria and xenophobia — and refusing to forget this unforgivable era in American history — we can continue to do right by the thousands of Americans put in an unthinkable situation.

These photos remind us of why we will never go back to a place like that again.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less