EGT Reads We The People: A Story Of Internment In America
On our sixth podcast episode of EGT Reads, Michelle Silveira reads from a very special and emotional book. We The People: A Story Of Internment In America is an autobiography about Mary Tsukamoto. Indeed, the book is written by Tsukamoto and Elizabeth Pinkerton. If their names sound familiar, you shouldn’t be surprised. Both Tsukamoto and Pinkerton played huge roles in developing Elk Grove. In this episode, Michelle Silveira reads about the traumatic experience of being sent away to an internment camp.
Mary Tsukamoto was a lifetime educator and activist in Elk Grove. Much like many other Japanese Americans during World War II, she and her family were taken from their homes in Florin and sent to an internment camp. She and her family stayed briefly in Fresno. Then they were taken to Jerome, Arkansas for the rest of their internment. Later, in 1945, were the Tsukamotos allowed to return home to their farm.
For almost thirty years, she taught children in the Elk Grove School District. Additionally, she spent her free time educating the public about Japanese internment camps and civil liberties. For her work and dedication to justice, an elementary school is named after her in the Elk Grove-Florin area, near Vintage Park. Her daughter, Marielle Tsukamoto continues her mother’s work on educating the public about internment camps.
While Elizabeth Pinkerton is listed as a co-author, EGT Reads will be featuring her in another episode shortly. We will feature her author bio in that article.
In The Book
We The People is an emotional read. Although the writing is easy and clear, what happens in the story is difficult to wrangle. Dozens of families in the Florin and nearby regions are forced to leave. Despite being Americans, Tsukamoto’s family left their home and moved to an internment camp. There, three generations lived under one room in the hot desert. Regardless of their citizenship, Japanese Americans were treated as less than human. Simultaneously being stripped of their rights as humans, they were also watched by the American military in these camps.
Where Can I Get A Copy?
We The People is not sold online. Instead, you can buy your copy of the book at Elizabethpink@gmail.com. The book is $20, not including sales tax. All proceeds of the book go to the Elk Grove Regional Scholarship Foundation.