Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Politics of Race, Place, and Waste in Huntington Beach

 ABOVE: Yukiko Yajima Furuta at the Long Beach Pike after her arrival from Japan with her new husband, Charles Mitsuji Furuta, in 1913. Misuji had been in the US since 1900 and had traveled  back to Japan to meet his bride, after saving money and acquiring land. They moved into their newly built home in Wintersburg Village in 1913, just months before California passed the first alien land law prohibiting Japanese from owning property. (Courtesy of the Furuta family) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

JUST PUBLISHED: Click on the title below to read the overview by Preserve Orange County on the history and decade-long effort to save Historic Wintersburg.

"The Politics of Race, Place, and Waste in Huntington Beach" by Jason Foo, Preserve Orange County 

"When Urashima began her research in 2004, she could find no reference to Japanese American history in Huntington Beach historical files. In 2012, she started the Historic Wintersburg blog to address the gap in the historical record and to underscore its significance when it was threatened with demolition. 'I thought the one thing I could do is start putting faces on these buildings, start personalizing the place, start telling the stories and the history of the place, help people understand the significant history it’s tied to.' Huntington Beach maintains an inventory of historic properties, but it lacks a preservation ordinance to designate and protect them as well as to administer consistent application of policy. As a result, an alarming number of resources have been lost to alteration or demolition.

June Aochi Berk of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition stresses the importance of saving places associated with Issei history. 'These places are valuable in the sense of keeping the story alive, of the first generation who came here and struggled to build a community in California.' As Legacy Project Director for the TCDS Coalition, Berk interviews descendants of Issei men who were imprisoned at the Tujunga center. She learned about one such prisoner, Charles Furuta, by interviewing his grandchildren, Norman and Ken Furuta. Berk, a Nisei, or second-generation Japanese American, was incarcerated as a child. She compares the threat to Issei-related sites to another kind of removal. 'That’s what makes me want to preserve these places – to honor our first generation Isseis.'"

© All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.  

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The Historic Wintersburg blog focuses on an overlooked history in Huntington Beach, Orange County, California, in the interest of saving a historic property from demolition. The author and publisher reserves the right not to publish comments. Please no promotional or political commentary. Zero tolerance for hate rhetoric. Comments with embedded commercial / advertising links or promoting other projects, books, or publications may not be published. If you have an interesting anecdote, question or comment about one of our features, it will be published.