A librarian’s Call to Serve in San Diego.

An inspiring exhibit now on display at the San Diego Central Library is titled Call to Serve: Clara E. Breed & The Japanese American Incarceration. It can be viewed through January 2022 in the Art Gallery on the downtown library’s Ninth Floor.

The exhibit recalls how San Diego librarian Clara E. Breed comforted and advocated for those American citizens of Japanese ancestry who were sent away to internment camps during World War II. She particularly helped and encouraged the children, with whom she kept in communication. Part of the exhibit includes many of her letters.

Clara Breed also fought against the censorship of books, and for a library collection that contained more international and multicultural material, that would speak to readers from diverse backgrounds.

I was touched by Clara’s compassion as I read many of the letters. She clearly had a love for the hundreds of children that she tirelessly championed. Anyone reading her words will be moved.

A replica of a barracks that was used to incarcerate Japanese-Americans during World War II can be viewed on the Central Library’s First Floor, near the main entrance. I blogged about it about a month ago here.

“Military necessity” was the justification for the removal of all persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast of the United States…On April 1, 1942, Civilian Exclusion Order No. 4 announced that all persons of Japanese ancestry were to report to Santa Fe Depot…Military guards supervised the transportation fo some 1,150 San Diegans to the Santa Anita Race Track…
“…When the children came to return their books and surrender their cards we gave them stamped postcards. Write to us. We’ll want to know where you are and how you are getting along, and we’ll send you some books to read.” –Clara E. Breed
…I am going to miss you a great deal, as you must know. You have been one of my restorers-of-faith in the human spirit. I know that you will keep your courage and humor in the weeks and days that lie ahead, no matter what they may bring…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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