Interview with Doug Johnson, UCLA Processing Archivist

(Reed’s Playlist for the occasion: Dude Ranch by Blink-182)

Looks like I can add journalism to the growing list of writing media I’ve tried my hand at!

For the last few weeks, the UCLA Library has showcased an exhibit entitled American Concentration Camps. The contents are pretty shocking memorabilia from the Japanese internment during World War II, including a “Jap hunting license” as well as a letter from a 12-year-old kid deriding a senator who spoke out against the internment.

Aside from being a matter of, shall we say, timely importance, this exhibit was fascinating for me to see. So much of our historical education relies on the bare facts of events, excluding those little personal views that truly bring an understanding of what living through it was actually like. In the exhibit, I was flooded with a variety of first-person sources which brought with them feelings of sickness towards overzealous Americans and intense admiration toward the Japanese Americans who managed to carve out a life in the camps.

So obviously I was stoked when my supervisor asked me to interview Doug Johnson, the curator of the exhibit. In addition to allowing me to attempt a journalistic piece, it also gave me the opportunity to understand what the team behind the exhibit wanted the public to take away.

If you’re interested, read it here. (And thanks for supporting the UCLA Library.)

Yours, observant and reverent,

-R.R. Buck

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