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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:Military / World War II
  • Language:English
  • Pages:198
  • Hardcover ISBN:9781098347178


Deprived of Liberty for his Race Without Due Process of Law

by William A. Stricklin

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This book is a Historical Novel rather than Nonfiction because it must include fragile memories from childhood. When I had the opportunity to listen to Ted at Fort Lewis, hearing the facts that are the basis for this book I learned that Ted's life had been far sadder than mine. This book tells Ted's story. My autobiography "Four Score and More" relates my mother's and father's escape from the 1930's Dust Belt and arrival in California. Using just $500 in his pocket my father made a down payment on a farmhouse and farm on Walden Road in Walnut Creek. Walnut and almond trees in our orchard with plum, peach and apple trees, a grape arbor, a vegetable garden and a chicken-fenced chicken yard. Ted's family had a large vegetable farm just east of our farmhouse, with beautiful straight rows of lettuce and other vegetables to sell, and the Ravioli family (not their real name) lived just south of us. West across Walden Road lived Homey (short for Homer?) Rothey. My father sold Buick automobiles for Serpa Buick in Martinez. My mother taught deaf children. Ted's family grew and sold vegetables. The Ravioli family made and sold ravioli. "Crazy Uncle" Homey wore high school athletic-letter shirts and called himself "the neighborhood warden." - Deprived of liberty on the basis of race without due process of law - is a historic novel that tells the storyof my early childhood playmate Ted. Akin to a "Crazy Uncle" Homey Rothey across Walden Road from our home walked around our neighborhood as a self-appointed "warden" carrying a bucket of black paint, urging everyone to paint their windows. Homey perceived that Walnut Creek might be a target like Pearl Harbor. Homey perceived that the Japanese American family immediately east of our home had planted crops in straight rows aimed at an elementary school in order to alert the Mitsubishi Zero fighter pilots of its location. Most likely as a result of Homey's agitation, Ted was loaded into a truck early one morning in March 1942.
Manzanar is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California's Owens Valley, between the towns of Lone Pine to the south and Independence to the north, 230 miles north of Los Angeles. Ted tells a tragic childhood story of a loyal third-generation American and his patriotic family. Although most quietly accepted their fate during World War II, there was some resistance in the camps. Poston, Heart Mountain, Topaz, and Tule Lake each had civil disturbances about wage differences, black marketing of sugar, food shortages, intergenerational friction, rumors of "informers" reporting to the camp administration or the FBI, and other issues. Ted told me the most serious incident occurred at Manzanar on December 5–6, 1942 (with some of the actions on both sides carrying over into the following days), which became known as the "Manzanar Revolt" or "Manzanar Riot". Some of the tension that precipitated the riot was related to work availability and the pay of those jobs, with Nisei and members of Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) getting preferential treatment. After months of tension between those who supported the JACL and a group of Kibei (Japanese Americans educated in Japan), rumors spread that sugar and meat shortages were the result of black marketing by camp administrators. To make matters worse, JACL leader Fred Tayama was beaten by six masked men on the evening of December 5. 1942. Harry Ueno, the leader of the Kitchen Workers Union, and two others suspected of involvement, were arrested. The other two suspects were questioned and released, but Ueno was removed from Manzanar. About 200 internees met on the morning of December 6, 1942, in the gardens at the Block 22 mess hall to discuss what they should do, and another meeting was scheduled for a few hours later. Between two and four thousand people gathered at the meeting where they listened to speeches and chose five people to present their grievances to the camp director. The crowd decided to follow the five representatives, which caused the camp director to tell the military police to muster in order to be available to control the crowd. The five representatives demanded that Ueno be released, but the camp director did not immediately agree. After the crowd began getting more unruly, the director agreed to release Ueno if the crowd agreed he should still stand trial, no one attempted to break him out of the camp jail, the five representatives would discuss any further wants with the director, the protesting crowds would disperse and not reassemble, and the five would work to dispel and quiet the protesters. Ueno was then returned to the camp jail in the early evening. When the five representatives went to verify that Ueno was in the jail, the crowd gathered again returned to protest. Instead of dispersing as asked, they instead broke into groups to try to find Tayama and kill him. When they were unable to find him in the hospital, they began searching all through the camp for Tayama as well as Tokie Slocum and Togo Tanaka, two suspected collaborators. When they were unable to find any of them, the searchers began returning toward the jail. While the smaller search parties were searching the camp, the camp director had been trying to negotiate with the five representatives. This appeared to work initially, but the crowd gradually became more angry and started throwing bottles and rocks at the soldiers. The military police responded with tear gas to disperse them. As people ran to avoid the tear gas, some in the crowd pushed a driverless truck toward the jail. At that moment, the military police fired into the crowd, killing a 17-year-old boy instantly. A 21-year-old man who was shot in the abdomen died a few days later. At least nine to ten other prisoners were wounded, and a military police corporal was wounded by a ricocheting bullet. That night, some inmates continued attacking suspected collaborators and meeting in small groups while avoiding milita
About the author
Bill Stricklin lived in Walnut Creek, California, from December 18, 1937, until his family moved across the hills into Berkeley on August 15, 1945, which was the day Imperial Japan surrendered at the end of World War II. "Victory Over Japan Day" (V-J Day) would officially become celebrated in the United States on September 2, 1945, the day formal surrender documents were signed aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Bill Stricklin's seven years of early childhood Bill lived in a farmhouse on Walden Road in Walnut Creek, in the middle of an orchard filled with peaches, grapes, almonds, walnuts, bee hives, and chickens. Neighbors were families of second- and third- generation Japanese, Germans, Italians, French and English, and individuals, like Bill's parents, who had fled the Dust Bowl, all hard-working people who enjoyed one another as neighbors. Bill's playmates included the children of one family who manufactured Italian ravioli and the children of an industrious Japanese family that grew vegetables. Until mid-March 1942 one of those children was Bill Stricklin's playmate Ted. Bill became a Phi Beta Kappa scholar who earned his AB with honors Phi Beta Kappa at University of California, Berkeley. He was elected President of the University of California's Young Republicans, elected Cal student body president and selected as the outstanding cadet of the United States Army ROTC program at UC Berkeley, trained at Fort Lewis, Washington, where he reunited briefly with Ted; Infantry Officer Training School, Fort Benning, Georgia; Cold War spy-craft Counterintelligence cloak-and-dagger training at Fort Holabird, serving six years active and reserve, followed by a doctor of laws JD degree at Harvard Law School. After his graduation from Harvard in 1964 Bill studied the Japanese language at UC Berkeley and traveled to Japan. Bill first practiced law at Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, San Francisco; then in Honolulu, Hawai'i, at Rush, Moore, Craven, Kim and Stricklin.

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