We are actively working to preserve the physical artifacts as well as the stories and memories of life in one of America's concentration camps located at Poston, Arizona. It was named "Poston" or the "Colorado River Relocation Center", located on the Colorado River Indian Reservation during World War II. The Poston Community Alliance is a 501(c)(3)non-profit group.
Gene Isao Sogioka (Poston 221-10-D), a water colorist
Gene was born in Irvindale, California, and attended 2 years at Ponoma College when he quit and decided to go to Art School. Gene graduated from the Chiounard Art Institute (California Institute of Fine Arts.) In 1939, he married Mine, and he was employed as a animator for the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California before the bombing at Pearl Harbor.
"Accusation Before Administration"
In the early spring of 1942, Gene resided in Covina, California and voluntarily relocated his family to Fresno, to avoid being placed into the Santa Anita Assembly Center with others of Japanese ancestry living in that southern California region. Unfortunately, in less than 2 months later, the family was evacuated to the Poston, Arizona concentration camp 2, block 221.
During the two years that Gene was detained in the Arizona desert concentration camp, he produced more than 100 watercolors depicting life in the camps.
"WRA Officers Assess the Situation"
Gene's daughter, Jean (Sogioka) La Spina, recently contacted me and reported she is working on a book of her family's journey to Poston.She will be using 134 images of her father's watercolor scenes, some which illustrates the discontentment among those imprisoned. In developing her book, Jean was required to title each painting. She developed the titles from her recollections of the narrations her father told her when was a child.
"WRA Officer Gives His Defense"
Jean (Sogioka) La Spinais seeking information from former Poston prisoners about the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the War Relocation Authority administrative personnel.
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