Timeline

Amache & Japanese American Timeline

1853

U.S. Navy Commodore Matthew Perry invades Tokyo harbor with fleet of battleships, forcing Japan to open trade and relations with industrialized nations, thereby ending nearly three centuries of “Sakoku,” i.e., self-imposed Japanese isolation.

1860

Japan sends first diplomatic embassy to Washington to ratify Treaties of Amity and Commerce between the two countries.
Meiji government permits Japanese to emigrate.

1862

John Prowers and his new wife, Amache (the daughter of a local Cheyenne chief), establish their home near present-day city of Lamar.

1864

In one of the worst atrocities in Colorado history, 700 Colorado Militia attack a peaceful and friendly Arapaho and Cheyenne encampment, killing 200 women, children and older men at the Sand Creek Massacre.  Amache’s father, Lone Bear, is among those killed.

1867

Japan is undergoing the Meiji Restoration; the U.S. promises to help the Japanese military and economy to modernize.

1870

U.S. implements the 1870 Naturalization Statute, later amended to exclude Asians from U.S. citizenship.
Southeast Colorado organized into Bent Country.

Late-19th Century

Fleeing rising property and crop taxes levied to fund the Meiji Restoration, Japanese begin migrating to Hawai’i, a U.S. territory.

1873

Town of Grenada (with an “e”) founded when Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad builds a line to Colorado Territory. The town’s name is changed to “Granada” (with an “a”) in 1886. A surveyor’s mistake places the end-of-the-line town about fifteen miles west of Kansas state line.

1876

Colorado becomes the 38th State of the Union.

1886

“Old Grenada” is dismantled and moved three miles west to current town site after the railroad extends its tracks westward to the city of Las Animas.

1886

Lamar Land Office founded at site of present-day town of Lamar.

1888

Bent County broken into smaller units including Prowers County, named for John Prowers.

1900

First Japanese settle in Colorado, mostly in Denver but also in south central and southeastern parts of state including Prowers County.

1905

Russo-Japanese War ends with Treaty of Portsmouth.

1912

More than 3,000 Japanese cherry trees are donated by the Tokyo City Council to be planted in Washington D.C.

1924

Immigration Act of 1924 prohibited persons not eligible for citizenship under the Immigration Act of 1870 from entering the U.S.

1920-1940

Japan’s limited natural resources cause emerging military to justify colonial expansion in Asia and the Pacific.

1931

Japan invades Manchuria.

1939

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorizes the FBI to spy on Germans, Italians and Japanese in Hawai’i and West Coast, the largest Japanese communities.

1941

December 7

Japanese armed forces attack U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i.

December 11

Lt. General John L. DeWitt named head of the Western Defense Command. DeWitt recommends the detention of all Japanese 14 years of age and older in Hawai’i and along the West Coast.

1942

Late January

Colorado Governor Ralph Carr requires that some 8,000 Japanese, German and Italian aliens apply for special identification certificates.

February 14

General DeWitt recommends all persons of Japanese extraction be removed from the West Coast to internment camps further inland.

Mid-February

Colorado officials asked to survey state for “appropriate” housing sites for Japanese evacuees.

February 19

President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, calling for exclusion of “undesirables” from West Coast.

March 18

President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9102, which establishes the War Relocation Authority (WRA).

March 24

General DeWitt orders 8 PM to 6 AM curfew and a five-mile travel restriction for German, Italian and Japanese nationals as well as for U.S.-born citizens of Japanese descent. Only persons of Japanese descent are prohibited from possessing firearms, weapons, ammunition, short-wave radios, radio transmitters, signal devices and cameras.

1942 (continued)

March 29

General DeWitt orders forced removal of Japanese nationals and U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry from West Coast.

April

Evacuation notices appear on West Coast storefronts and street corners.
WRA opens first assembly center at Manzanar, about 220 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

April 7

Most governors of ten western states reject concentration camps for Japanese and Japanese-American civilians in their states. Only Colorado governor Ralph Carr says that “hosting detainees is a civic responsibility.”

May 6

Merced Assembly Center opens for Japanese detainees from northern California; most are sent to Amache.

Mid-May

WRA selects Holyoke and Granada as two candidate sites for a Japanese internment camp.

June

Poor working conditions leads to strike by “evacuee” labor at Santa Anita Assembly Center.

June 3

The Lamar Daily News announces that the Granada area has been selected for Japanese internment and work camp to be known as the Granada War Relocation Center.

June 17

Dillon Myer replaces Milton Eisenhower as director of the WRA.

June 19

Army Corps of Engineers opens surveying office in town of Lamar.

June 29

1,300 workers began construction on internment camp west of town of Granada. The entire Granada War Relocation Center project encompasses 16 square miles with the Town of Granada at its approximate center.

August 24

Two hundred mostly-male evacuees leave Merced Assembly Center for Granada War Relocation Center. They are a specially-selected advance party to begin preparations for receiving the bulk of the detainees.

August 27

Advance group of Japanese detainees arrive at Granada Relocation Center.

September 3

First group of “regular” detainees arrive at Granada. Seven more trainloads arrive from the Merced Assembly Center and, by September 18th, 4,500 detainees have arrived from Merced.

September 19

Evacuees begin arriving from the Santa Anita Assembly Center.

September 30

Three thousand Japanese arrive from southern California.

October

By the end of the month 7,567 Japanese Americans had arrived at the WRA “relocation” center where over ten percent of construction was incomplete.

1943

January

Amache Co-Op founded and quickly becomes the largest such operation in Colorado.

January 28

The U.S. Secretary of War issues plans for all-Nisei (second generation Japanese, American born) battalion unit.

February 1

President Roosevelt orders the creation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team including the 442nd Infantry, the 522nd Artillery Battalion and the 232nd Engineers Company.

February 6

Army personnel arrive at Amache to administer “loyalty” questionnaires to internees.

May

Seasonal leave established permitting detainees to labor at off-camp sites for determined periods.

July 10

Segregation hearings begin in Amache to determine loyalty of persons who answered “no” to loyalty questions. Hearings last until August.

July 15

Tule Lake relocation center in northern California is converted to a “segregation center” for detainees from other camps who are considered “disloyal.” Previous resident detainees considered “loyal” are ordered to choose reassignment to either Granada or to Jerome in Arkansas.

July 28

Dillon Myer arrives at camp to explain the segregation of camp residents into “loyal” or “non-loyal” groups.

September 16

125 Amache detainees sent to Tule Lake; 35 are expatriated to Japan, and one is sent to Leupp, Arizona. About 1,000 “loyal” Tuleans transferred to Amache.

1945

January 2

WRA rescinds evacuation order. Over 75,000 detainees remain imprisoned.

May 8

Germany surrenders. Peace in Europe.

June

Three-quarters of the detainee population remains in camp.

August

U.S. drops atom bombs on Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9); immediate loss of life is estimated to be 250,000.

August 14

Japan surrenders. Peace in the Pacific.
Nisei soldiers chosen to lead victory parade of over 15,000 U.S. troops in Italy.

1945 (continued)

September 15

The Granada Pioneer (the camp newspaper) closes.

October 15

Last detainees leave Amache.

1946

March 20

Tule Lake closes. The U.S. Japanese Internment Era ends.

May 22

The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) honors WRA director Dillon Myer for his accomplishments against “war hysteria…and economic greed.”

1948

July 2

Congress passes the Evacuation Claims Act. Internees are given January 3,1950 deadline to file claims for loss of property. Eventually, the U.S. government pays $31 million — less than ten cents per dollar of total losses.

1960s

Younger generation of Japanese Americans inspired by the Civil Rights Movement begin the Redress Movement.

1969

First pilgrimage to Manzanar. Internees from other camps begin similar pilgrimages.

1970

The JACL votes down a resolution seeking compensation from the government for the internment. This is the first institutional action addressing redress and reparations. Similar proposals continue to fail in following years.

1976

February 19

President Gerald Ford apologizes to Japanese Americans for wartime internment.
First formal pilgrimage to Amache site organized by Asian-American Community Action Research Program (CARP) and student activists.

1978

JACL asks Congress for $25,000 to each surviving detainee, an apology, and scholarships for Japanese American children.

1979

William Hohri organizes the National Council for Japanese American Redress (NCJAR) to seek redress through a class action suit for $27 billion.

1980

A third redress initiative, The National Coalition for Redress & Reparations, forms to directly lobby Congress.
Nine-member Commission of Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) established to investigate grounds for reparations to victims of forced removal.

1983

CWRIC finds that Issei, Nisei and Sansei (first-, second- and third-generation) are eligible for restitution for acts committed against them between “December of 1941 and 1945.” Recommends payment of $20,000 limited to surviving internees only.
Denver Central Optimists Club — a mostly Japanese-American chapter — places memorial at Amache cemetery to honor the 31 Amache soldiers who died in battle and the persons who lived and died at the prison camp.

November 10

U.S. Federal Court rules in case brought by Fred Korematsu that internment was not justified.

1988

President Ronald Reagan signs reparations bill into law. Payments go into effect under President George H.W. Bush. Civil Liberties Act of 1988 provides for presidential apology and $20,000 reparations to most internees, but excludes heirs of deceased internees. This legislation supercedes NCJAR class action lawsuit.

1994

Amache is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

1999

Court of Federal Claims authorizes apology letters and payments of $5,000 for Japanese Latin Americans. Many cases remain pending.

2000

Nisei “draft resistors of conscience” recognized with documentary film “Conscience and the Constitution” as well as by JA veterans and community groups.
Los Angeles Chapter of the National Coalition for Redress/Reparations (NCRR) changes its name to Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress to reflect its involvement in civil rights as well as continued commitment to redress for Japanese Americans and Japanese Latin Americans.
White House announces the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) program, a competitive year-to-year initiative administered by the National Park Service, through which organizations apply for limited grants to fund various preservation projects at internment camp sites.

2001

Amache listed as one of Colorado’s most endangered historic sites.

2011

January 30

California observes “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution,” the first such commemoration for an Asian American in the U.S.

June 14

Peruvian president Alan García apologized for his country’s internment of Japanese immigrants during World War II, most of whom were transferred to the United States.

2012

Anticipated completion of projects to restore original water tank tower and reconstruction of a guard tower, funded in part by JACS grants.