Write your congressmen to support history | Arkansas Blog

Write your congressmen to support history


Tarpaper housing at Rohwer, a photo from the collection of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies.
  • Tarpaper housing at Rohwer, a photo from the collection of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies.

When you're busy cutting the federal budget to the bone so that folks wealthier than God don't have to contribute to the Treasury, no program is too small to ax, right?

So who is surprised that President Trump would end funding for to support education and museums that tell the story of Japanese internment during World War II? House subcommittees have until tomorrow — March 16 — to submit recommendations, so this is a last-minute notice to contact your Arkansas congressman.

The Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program has provided small but important sums to Arkansas to interpret and conserve the camps at Rohwer and Jerome: $100,502 to Arkansas State University to create a framework for research into the Rohwer Relocation Center. To the McGehee Industrial Foundation, $423,967 to restore the railroad depot to create space for an exhibit created by UA Little Rock and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. Educational kiosks at Rohwer ($93,155), preservation of the Rosalie Gould Collection of artworks made by internees ($67,821). Cemetery preservation at Rohwer ($250,000), the digitization of documents, oral histories, photographs and artifacts for online study ($300,378). Textile conservation by the Central Arkansas Library System ($26,827).

The sums are big enough — but tough to come by locally — to help preserve this part of Arkansas and American history, representing less than a drop in the federal budget. By ending the JACS program, Trump would save $17 million.

The International Examiner has a piece on the budget cut and background on what the program has done nationally.

PS: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was asked about this at a congressional hearing and showed his colors with a demeaning response to a Japanese-American member of Congress from Hawai..

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