INTERVIEWER: Tell me why you belong to the JACL?
HENMI: I believe it's ah... important for us to maintain some line of
communication with others of our race. Definitely in the earlier years
of relocation to this area it was very meaning for us have some social
contacts and um... and be supportive of each other and ah... occasionally
when we had certain problems, well as a group we were more effective than
trying to deal with it as an individual.
INTERVIEWER: What kind of problems did you have as a group?
HENMI: JACL is always kind of kept an eye out for racial slurs and that
type of thing, that ah... different motion pictures or different groups
or individuals, ah... quite often not knowing that was a slur you know
would be using different words or what have you. And um... then you know
we called their peoples attention to it or um... As a whole in St. Louis
we've never had too many problems. I know there's some people are
somewhat suspicious of us when they don't know us. I remember ah... the
first person that came here from the west coast of Japanese Ancestry,
was greeted by the Executive Director of the Campus Y (Washington University
Campus Y), a guy named Arno Haack, who was very instrumental in our coming
here. And he met this young man at the ,ah, Union Station. He came by
train. And he didn't know what to expect out of him.
And the first thing he said to Arno Haack was where can I get a Coke,
I am very thirsty. And well that kind of ah... took away all his trepidation
that he had. So... um... And then there were a number of us on the campus.
Most of us came about the same period of time. This was in the um... August
- September of 1942. We came here. And um... we ... kind of did different
things and um... I remember one time they thought it might be good publicity
for us to collect some scrap metal and take a picture and so forth.(laugh).
We did things like that. (laugh)
INTERVIEWER: So that particular venture that I read about in an old news
clipping, was something that was done for propaganda's sake.
HENMI: Did you read that particular one? (laugh). Yes that particular
situation was. (laugh) But um... away, we did a number of things.
INTERVIEWER: Who was the young man who came to Union Station and met with
HENMI: I'm trying to remember his name. His name was um… Doc Hikoyeda,
I think. Hikoyeda. We called him Doc, and I think he was studying to be
a dentist. And he came from the San Francisco area.
Richard Henmi and two others
left Fresno Assembly Center for Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
(November 17, 1942)
from left to right: Ted Ono, Yo Matsumato, Richard Henmi