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Our Daily Diary - March 15, 1943

This is a page from a 3rd-grade class diary at the internment camp at Topaz, Utah, where the government imprisoned people of Japanese descent during World War II. Mouse over the page to learn more. Or read the text here.

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"We have a new pupil in our class whose name is David Crowton. We are going to make him feel at home."

(At this time in the United States, the Anglo American majority often ignored or mistreated people from other cultures. If you had Japanese ancestry, kids might tease you or bully you. However, in Topaz, the Japanese kids sometimes teased the Anglo kids. Why do you think that happened? This teacher was encouraging her students to befriend and welcome the new student, an Anglo American.)

"This morning school started at 9:00 a.m. because the days are longer."

"The Japanese from the Hawaiian Islands came to Topaz on March 14, 1943. They live in Block 1. It was a windy and dusty day. The Boy Scouts built their fires for them."

(The class has drawn a picture of Hawaii as the background of this page. How was the environment different at Topaz than it was in Hawaii? How do you think these newcomers felt upon arriving in the Utah desert? Why do you think the Boy Scouts built their fires?)

"Johnny and Jackie have the mumps. Edwin and his friend caught a baby jack-rabbit."

(Today, kids usually get a vaccination for the mumps, so people don't get this disease too often now. But there was no vaccine for mumps at this time.)