Arkansas Stories Continue With On-Site Exploration of Captivity and Resistance

 Segregees from a typical block in the Jerome Relocation Center in Dermott, Arkansas bringing hand baggage to the street where they received check stubs before the baggage is transported to the rail head by truck. Photographer: Chas R.Lynn.
Photo Courtesy of Mullins Library, Special Collections.

Segregees from a typical block in the Jerome Relocation Center in Dermott, Arkansas bringing hand baggage to the street where they received check stubs before the baggage is transported to the rail head by truck. Photographer: Chas R.Lynn.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The interactive public humanities series, Arkansas Stories of Place and Belonging, continues this fall with a two-day exploration of “Captivity and Resistance” Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15-16.

“Captivity and Resistance” features presentations and site visits by historians, archeologists and artists whose work delves into the Arkansas stories of Japanese Americans in internment camps, German and Italian prisoners-of-war and African Americans living under Jim Crow Laws during World War II. These events are free and open to the public.

“Drawing on folktale, art, literature and historical documents, the program moves beyond victimhood narratives to engage with how each group navigated and resisted these forms of captivity,” said Kathryn Sloan, professor of history and director of the Arkansas Humanities Center. “This two-day exploration gives voice to the thousands of diverse peoples who left their imprint on our land, our culture and our ideas.”

The first day of events will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, in conference room 102 in the College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources:

  • Opening Social at 4 p.m. and Captivity and Resistance at 4:30 p.m.
    A talk by Johanna Miller Lewis, professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
  • The People Could Fly: Interactive Narrative and Historical Empathy at
    5 p.m.

    A virtual reality experience with the Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
  • “From Caffé Latte to Catholic Mass: Camp Monticello, an Italian POW Camp” at 6 p.m.
    A talk by Jodi Barnes, associate archeologist at the Arkansas Archeological Survey at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.
  • A Screening of “Faces Like Ours” at 6:30 p.m.
    A documentary about the nearly 25,000 German and Italian POWs during the 1940s, who were housed in camps in Arkansas, including Camp Chaffee, Camp Robinson, Camp Monticello and Camp Dumont.
  • Optional Dinner at Joe’s Italian Bistro at 7 p.m.
    Participants may dine on their own or have dinner at Monticello restaurant Joe’s Italian Bistro, which will be preparing meal specials available for purchase based on the menus from Camp Monticello.

The second day of events will take place from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, at various sites in Monticello, McGehee, and Rohwer, Arkansas:

A street scene on an uneventful afternoon in block 7 of the Jerome Relocation Center in Denson, Arkansas.A street scene on an uneventful afternoon in block 7 of the Jerome Relocation Center in Denson, Arkansas. Photographer: Tom Parker. Photo courtesy of Mullins Library, Special Collections.
Italian prisoners of war outside a mess hall in the Garrison Echelon of Camp Monticello in Drew County, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of the Drew County Archives.Italian prisoners of war outside a mess hall in the Garrison Echelon of Camp Monticello in Drew County, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of the Drew County Archives.
One of the three enlisted men's compounds as seen from a guard tower at Camp Monticello near Monticello, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of the Drew County Historical Society. One of the three enlisted men’s compounds as seen from a guard tower at Camp Monticello near Monticello, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of the Drew County Historical Society.
A promotional image for Arkansas Stories of Place and Belonging's A promotional image for Arkansas Stories of Place and Belonging’s “Captivity and Resistance” events happening Nov. 15-16.
  • Visit to Camp Monticello, the Italian POW Site at 9 a.m.
  • Led by Jodi Barnes, associate archaeologist at the Arkansas Archeological Survey at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.
  • Visit to the World War II Japanese American Internment Museum at
  • 11:40 a.m.
  • Between 1942 and 1945, more than 8,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated at the Rohwer Japanese American Relocation Center in Arkansas – a 500-acre camp surrounded by barbed wire and armed guard towers. Although most physical remains have been wiped from the landscape, important stories remain to be shared.
  • Free Lunch at the McGehee Municipal Complex at 12:30 p.m.
  • This free lunch will be based on a menu from the Rohwer Japanese American Relocation Center, researched and prepared by Joseph Brajcki.
  • “The Other Side of the Fence” at 1:15 p.m.
  • A talk by John Newman, painter, native of Rohwer, and emeritus professor of art from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
  • “Using Digital Technologies to Document and Interpret Japanese American Internment in Arkansas” at 1:45 p.m.
  • A talk by Kimball Erdman, associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
  • Visit to Rohwer Japanese American Internment Camp from 3 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Led by Kimball Erdman and Richard Yada, a lifelong Arkansan who was born in the Rohwer camp.

Participants will be responsible for their own transportation to each event, but parking will be available.

For more information, visit Arkansas Stories of Place and Belonging online or email ksloan@uark.edu.

About Arkansas Stories: The series Arkansas Stories of Place and Belonging is an innovative public scholarship and engagement series at the University of Arkansas, funded by a Chancellor’s Innovation and Collaboration Grant, that brings together scholar-experts, students, and the general public to engage in informed conversations about the region’s fascinating history of human interaction. Utilizing objects and places as focal points to narrate compelling stories of the movement of humans and ideas across centuries, Arkansas Stories illuminates what makes up our common heritage.

About the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with three schools, 16 departments, and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students and is named for J. William Fulbright, former university president and longtime U.S. senator.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3% of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Contacts

Olivia Chivers, communications project manager
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-2130, ochivers@uark.edu

Andra Parrish Liwag, director of communications
Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-4393, liwag@uark.edu

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