Oral History Interview with Frank Iritani
Nisei male, born January 25, 1921 in Sullivan, Arapahoe County, Colorado to a farm family. Frank was a community activist with varied life experiences. As a youth he knew hard farm labor which later gave him insight when working with migrant farm workers as a social worker. His parents stressed the importance of education. He responded by going on a study tour to Japan as a seventeen year old in 1937 and 1938. Later he attended Colorado School of Mines and the University of Minnesota. As a Colorado resident, Frank avoided evacuation and internment during WWII. He volunteered for the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946, serving in the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) in Japan. After the war, he got a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion and was ordained as a Methodist minister. He served in this capacity for eleven years but left it as moving his family every two years was disruptive and he found sermonizing and group meetings were not his forte. He was a social worker for Kern County Welfare Department for twenty-four years until his retirement. Frank activated Asian Americans into the political process in several ways: he secured petition signatures for redress which led to the Civil Rights Act, 1988; he formed a political power base for minorities through frequent voter registration opportunities and writing news articles about issues and consequences; he collaborated with his wife, Joanne, in writing the book ï¿½Ten Visitsï¿½ ï¿½ a travel guide of ten internment camps under the War Relocation Authority of WWII. Frank and Joanne helped mobilize camp internees for reunions, develop memorials and educational programs at camp sites. The book memorializes the effects of Executive Order 9066 on Japanese Americans from 1942 to 1946.
Transcript available at California State University, Sacramento University Library
4 Tapes of 4
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