They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott; art by Harmony Becker

“That remains part of the problem—that we don’t know the unpleasant aspects of American history…and therefore we don’t learn the lesson those chapters have to teach us. So we repeat them over and over again.”
― George Takei, They Called Us Enemy

They Called Us Enemy  by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott, with art by Harmony Becker, is a gorgeously drawn and written story telling the story of George Takei’s childhood from within the walls of American concentration camps during World War II. As a result of his experiences and after-dinner discussions with his father, Takei’s foundational and life-long commitment to equal rights was born.

In 1942, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was shipped to one of ten relocation centers across the United States. On orders from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, over 127,000 people of Japanese descent were sent hundreds or thousands of miles from home to those relocation centers where they were held under armed guard for years. Four-year-old George Takei and his family were forced from their home in California to live in a total of two different relocation centers.

They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s first-hand account of his years trapped behind barbed wire, growing up under legalized racism. He wrestled with periods of joy and terror. His mother had to make many hard choices, one of which could tear their family apart. His father kept up his faith in democracy, taking leadership rules as a block manager at the camps. Takei uses his experiences in the internment camps to discuss what being an American means and who gets to decide whether you are one or not.

This book is also available in the following format:

“Shame is a cruel thing. It should rest on the perpetrators but they don’t carry it the way the victims do.”
― George Takei, They Called Us Enemy

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