Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II examines a dark episode in US history when, in the name of national security, the government incarcerated 120,000 citizens and legal residents during World War II without due process or other constitutional protections to which they were entitled. Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, set in motion the forced removal and imprisonment of all people of Japanese ancestry (citizens and non-citizens alike) living on or near the West Coast. This exhibition features works by renowned photographers Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and others documenting the eviction of Japanese Americans and permanent Japanese residents from their homes as well as their subsequent lives in incarceration camps. Also included are photographs by incarcerated photographer Toyo Miyatake. This timely exhibition reexamines this history and presents new research telling the stories of the individuals whose lives were upended due to racial bigotry.

TOP IMAGE: Dorothea Lange, Woodland, California, May 20, 1942. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.
Posters instructing Japanese Americans to proceed to certain areas to be detained during world war 2.
Two rows of young boys reciting the national anthem with their hands on their hearts, one waving the American flag above his head.
A long line of Japanese Americans entering an internment camp.
A family photo of a Japanese father and his children.
A row of US military soldiers look on while Japanese Americans are shuffled to internment camps.
A watchtower with American soldiers looking in the distance over internment camps.
Rows of makeshift houses on the plains, with great snow peaked mountains in the background.
The profile of a nurse with glasses from the chest up.
Children lined up outside a makeshift trailer with a sign that reads "Toy Loan Center".

Special Thanks

ICP’s presentation of this exhibition has been made possible by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, and the Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts, Inc.

The exhibition was organized by Alphawood Exhibitions in collaboration with the Japanese American Service Committee and was made possible through the generosity of Alphawood Foundation Chicago.