Washington, D. C.
March 3, 1944

Mrs. L. R. Shipman
Illmo, Missouri

Dear Mrs. Shipman:

I am enclosing a copy of a letter received from the Director of the War Relocation Authority with reference to the educational program for relocation centers. The letter is self-explanatory.

I hope this will serve to explain the program to you in a satisfactory manner. If you desire any further information, however, we shall be pleased to try to obtain it for you.

Sincerely yours,

Harry S. Truman


Hon. Harry S. Truman
United States Senate
Washington, D. C.

Dear Senator Truman:

We are glad to have the opportunity to comment on the letter from Mrs. L. H. Shipman of Illmo, Missouri, dated February 11, and transmitted by your communication of February 19. In her letter Mrs. Shipman protests theMusic class, Heart Mountain, 1943 teaching of music and other fine arts in "internment camps" while her local school system is not able to offer such subjects. We assume that by "internment camps" she refers to the relocation centers for persons of Japanese descent evacuated from the Pacific Coast area. Internment camps are for enemy aliens found after hearings to be dangerous to the national security; residents of relocation centers are not in this category. {PHOTO: "A fourth grade rhythm class in the grade school of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center" (06/04/1943)]

The Federal Government, in evacuating some 110,000 persons, including some 40,000 American children of school age, assumed the obligation to provide educational opportunities for the children. The school curricula in the relocation centers are planned to meet the standards of the respective states in which the centers are located. These standards invariably require the teaching of music and other fine arts.

The responsibility for providing educational opportunities for children traditionally is a local one; state and federal funds in most instances, we are informed, make up a comparatively small portion of the moneys spent on education in a given community. Hence, whether or not music and other arts are included in the curriculum is a matter for local determination.

Certainly the War Relocation Authority is sympathetic to the situation of a community whose resources do not permit the development of a well-rounded school curriculum. On the other hand, it has an obligation to thousands of American school children in the centers, to the parents of these children, and to the nation, to foster their mental growth and their Americanization. Such an obligation, implicit in the Executive Order creating the agency, and explicit in the appropriations by the Congress, cannot be ignored, or interpreted to mean sub-standard educational opportunities.

D. S. Myer


Illmo, Missouri
February 11, 1944

Senator Harry Truman
The United States Senate
Washington, D. C.

My dear Sir:

Many people in my community have expressed deep resentment toward the teaching of music and other fine arts to the Japanese in our internment camps when our own public school systems have been denied this advantage.

I am a teacher in a public school system which, among many, cannot afford to employ a teacher of public school music, but, on the other hand, a portion of the taxpayers' money of this community is paying for a luxury which our own schools cannot afford!!

Too why shouldn't the public resent such a "set up" of education in internment camps when we taxpayers have relatives "across" who are making sacrifices that our public school children should have these advantages.

If the government has money to spend, why not improve our own curriculum of fine arts first and let the "devil" take the hindmost?

Yours very truly,

Mrs. L. H. Shipman

-- Table of Contents --