Associate Professor Emily Hanako Momohara returns from sabbatical where she worked on a long-term documentary film project about the life of May Namba, a Seattle-based civil rights leader. 

Namba's adult life began with racism, war and incarceration. However, through perseverance and a quiet leadership, Namba lived to be 97, much of which was full of activism, service and advocating for others. Through Namba’s story, the film will chronical her Japanese American WWII incarceration experience at Minidoka, civil rights advocacy, US history education and a younger generation inspired to continue the movement. Displayed are parts of Namba’s journey and the making of the film including a film clip, film stills, historic images, WWII propaganda and photographs taken during the filming process.


Works:

In Progress Film clip
Minidoka Pilgrimage bus with May Namba and family juxtaposed with historic WWII footage of Japanese Americans arriving at the incarceration center. 

Map of WWII sites of Japanese American incarceration
from Confinement and Ethnicity, National Park Service

Notice to Japanese Americans, 1942
San Francisco, CA
National Archives

Mochida family tagged and waiting removal, 1942
Bainbridge Island, WA
National Archives

Train cars of Japanese Americans leave for removal, 1942
Woodland, CA
National Archives

Santa Ana Racetrack housing Japanese Americans who wave to those being relocated, 1942
Santa Ana, CA
U.S. Library of Congress

May and Miyako Namba (granddaughter) looking at photographs at May’s home.
Film Still, 2017

Historic Anti-Japanese posters and paraphernalia, ca. 1941-1945
National Archives

Split Screen of May Namba talking about her family and a photograph of her and her siblings. 
Film still, 2014/ca. 1925

Miyako Namba cutting out Frank Namba from a photograph.
Film Still, 2020

Miyako Namba (granddaughter) recreating making a mattress in a horse stall by filling a burlap bag with hay.
Film Still, 2020

Miyako Namba (granddaughter) recreating sleeping in a horse stall on a hay mattress.
Film Still, 2020

May Namba at the recreated Minidoka Honor Roll, 2014
Photograph taken during filming.
Minidoka Internment National Monument, ID

May sitting with grandchildren Riley and Miyako and son Dean while looking at family photos.
Film Still, 2017

Award given to May Namba
Photograph taken during filming
Seattle, WA

May Namba being interviewed at the KUOW studios.
Photograph from Namba family, 2004
Seattle, WA

May Namba receiving an award at the 2014 Minidoka Pilgrimage.
Film Still, 2014
Twin Falls, ID

May Namba speaking at the Seattle School District to the Board of Directors.
Photograph during filming, 2014
Seattle, WA

May Namba, 2014
Photograph during filming, 2014
Minidoka Internment National Monument, ID