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War Relocation Authority Camps in Arizona 1942-1946 On March 18 1942 President Franklin D Roosevelt signed Executive Order No 9102 Establishing the War Relocation Authority in the Executive Office of the President and Defining its Functions and Duties This order created a civilian agency in the Office for Emergency Management to provide for the removal of persons or classes of people from designated areas as previously denoted under Executive Order No 9066 The Authority embarked on a rapid trajectory of planning and building 10 relocation camps that would house more than 110000 Japanese Americans who lived chiefly inside the boundaries of Military District 1 along the Pacific Coast A map 135K shows how the WRA dispersed the camps across the western United States This Exhibit features images from approximately forty photographs taken for the War Relocation Authority and vividly depicts life in Arizonas two camps Two of the larger camps that received the trainloads of evacuees were located in Arizona One was the Colorado River Relocation Center April 1942-March 1946 on Colorado Indian lands near Poston 12 miles southwest of Parker in La Paz formerly part of Yuma County that had a peak population of about 18000 The other was constructed at Rivers on leased Pima-Maricopa Indian lands in west central Pinal County and was known as the Gila River Relocation Center May 1942-February 1946 with a population of about 13000 While extant these sites became two of the larger centers of concentrated population in the state Until it closed offices on June 30 1946 the Authority carried the responsibility of housing feeding employing and otherwise providing services for citizens who had been hastily and summarily placed in an alien social and geographical environment by their federal government in a fevered time of world war The engineers typically designed the fenced camps in block arrangements wherein each block contained 14 barracks 1 mess hall and 1 recreation hall on the outer
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