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New life for cemetary


The Rohwer cemetery, the final resting place for internees who died at the Japanese-American prison camp and which includes monuments to them and to war dead, is showing its age. Its paths are gone, vandals have removed some of the ornate base of the once-grand obelisk erected in honor of the internees, a tree is growing up through the World War II monument to Japanese-American soldiers who died in action. The headstones, made of sand cement, and the urns that were to hold flowers and candles in front of the graves have begun to crumble.

But thanks to a $250,000 grant from the National Park Service awarded to UALR history professor Johanna Miller Lewis, the cemetery is getting restored. Lewis will work with architect John Greer of Witsell, Evans, Rasco to start stabilizing monuments and headstones. Lewis lauded student Tamisha Cheatham, who wrote the grant as her master's thesis in public history.

The park service also awarded $93,000 to Arkansas State University for an interpretive project at the relocation camp and the Central Arkansas Library System received $67,000 to preserve and display the collection of art made by internees that it received earlier this year.

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