Oral history project captures impact of Japanese American detention during World War II

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Graduation from Watsonville High School was just a few weeks away in April 1942 when Jiro Sugidono was interned at the Salinas fairgrounds in the midst of anti-Japanese hysteria after Pearl Harbor.

He and his family were living in horse stables when the school principal made the trip to Salinas to hand out diplomas at the detention center. Sugidono, who was born and raised in Watsonville and attended Radcliff, Linscott and E.A. Hall schools, would wait 50 years to participate in a graduation ceremony on the Watsonville High campus.

Sugidono, 84, is one of seven Watsonville natives being interviewed this week for an oral history project that aims to capture the experiences of those who lived through one of the most egregious violations of civil rights in U.S. history -- the imprisonment of more than 120,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry.

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