Departures: Poetry and Prose on the Removal of Bainbridge Island’s Japanese Americans After Pearl Harbor by Mike Dillon
Book Title: Departures: Poetry and Prose on the Removal of Bainbridge Island’s Japanese Americans After Pearl Harbor
Author: Mike Dillon
List Price: 16.00 plus shipping
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
About the Book
The narrative of poetry and prose begins on the eve of Pearl Harbor. An old Croatian fisherman rows across Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island to light the kerosene lamps to guide the ferries in, as he does each night. Christmas lights decorate the cottages scattered around the harbor. The lights of Seattle glow to the east. A star falls “from the wayside of infinity.”
The next morning, a Sunday, brings the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The owners of the Bainbridge Island Review, Walt and Milly Woodward, work into the wee hours to publish a special edition. Walt Woodward reminds his neighbors, “I am positive every Japanese family on the Island has an intense loyalty for the United States of America and stands ready to defend it.” Up and down the West Coast, however, hatred is stirring.
Little more than two months later, President Franklin Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066 authorizing the removal of people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast of the United States.
On March 30, 1942, 227 Japanese Americans from Bainbridge Island, under bayonet guard, are marched aboard the ferry Kehloken bound for Seattle and a train waiting to take them to Manzanar, a barbed-wire camp in the central California desert. Many of their island neighbors turned out to see them off. Not a few of them weep.
The author, using historical sources and family recollections, has crafted a poetic narrative of one of the most conspicuous injustices in American history, and explores how the healing goes on.