Community college awards degrees to internment camp victims
The Compton Community College District recently awarded honorary degrees to 78 second-generation Japanese Americans who were unable to complete their undergraduate studies as a result of their relocation to internment camps during World War II.
A ceremony was held on Saturday as part of the California Nisei College Diploma Project, which seeks to eventually award honorary diplomas to all Japanese Americans, living or deceased, who could not obtain a degree because of their internment.
Many of the honorees, now in their 80s, traveled from across the country in order to receive their diploma. Margaret Yoshida, who was relocated to the Manzanar internment camp in Owens Valley shortly after completing junior high school, flew in from New Jersey to attend the ceremony.
âI really did look forward to graduating in a cap and gown,â Yoshida told the Los Angeles Times. âNow Iâm going to be a great-grandma graduate.â
Assemblyman Warren T. Furutani (D-Gardena), a sponsor of the legislation that helped initiate the California Nisei Diploma Project, told the Los Angeles Times that the bill was âan attempt to finish unfinished business, tie together loose ends, and fulfill dreams that were deferred.â