Educators Smithsonian Education
Letters from Japanese Internment
Step Four
Introduction - Step One - Step Two - Step Three - Step Four - History:Whose Story

In a writing assignment, younger students might try to imagine a typical day at Poston. Older students might write an essay on an aspect of the internment, using both the Miss Breed collection and some of the secondary sources from Resources. The exercise might highlight the differences between primary sources—the raw material of history—and the accounts of historians. In evaluating the essays, consider the strength of the students’ documentary evidence and the soundness of their interpretations of the evidence. Suggested topics:
  • Family life in the camps
  • The survival of Japanese traditions
  • American loyalty among internees
  • Internment and the Bill of Rights

To give older students another perspective on the letters as historical documents, you might distribute copies of the article History: Whose Story?

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