Oral History Interview with Alfred Iwao Tsukamoto
Nisei male, born on March 21, 1912 in Florin, California to a pioneer farming family, his father having arrived in 1892. He attended a segregated Florin grammar school. As he excelled in sports he felt he was not taunted with racial epithets by white students as were other Nisei. In November 1936 he married Mary Dakuzaku and the couple were active in the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). Al attended a National JACL meeting in San Francisco in March 1942 to discuss strategies about Executive Order 9066. When Al was thirty, in the spring of 1942, he, Mary and five year old Marielle were sent to Fresno Assembly Center, then to Jerome, Arkansas where he was director of Issei recreation. In 1943 Al went to Chicago, then Kalamazoo, Michigan to work. He was hired as a baker in a bakery where Niseis worked the night shift so that it would not be known Japanese were hired. Mary's sister tried the day shift but a customer spotted her and boycotted the store. In July 1945, the Tsukamotos returned to their Florin Farm but stopped farming in 1949. Mary was offered a teaching job and Al worked at the Army Signal Depot. He took electronic courses and retired after thirty years as an electronic technician. In retirement, Al and Mary were activists in the redress movement. During the 1980s they helped to initiate the annual Florin JACL Day of Remembrance programs commemorating internment.
Transcript available at California State University, Sacramento University Library
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