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News : Local Apr 8, 2013 - 5:37:46 AM

Greenwich Reads Together Program at Greenwich Historical Society

By Greenwich Historical Society

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As part of the Greenwich Reads Together program, Greenwich resident Catherine Ladnier will explore the experience of Japanese American Mills College students who corresponded from internment camps with Mills College President Aurelia Henry Reinhardt during WW II. Despite their imprisonment far from home, the Mills students strove to make the best of the hand they were dealt while looking forward to a "future day of radiant peace."

Reinhardt (the first female PhD graduate from Yale University) and her staff defied the prejudice and hysteria of the time to support their Nisei students. (Nisei, or second generation, refers to sons and daughters of Japanese immigrants born and educated in the U.S.) Ladnier is a Mills College graduate who uses original letters to recount the stories of the "Greatest Generation."

Following the program at the Greenwich Historical Society, a group of panelists will recount their personal experiences and recollections on the internment of Japanese American citizens, reflecting on the injustice of uprooting 100,000 men, women and children from their homes in California, Washington and Oregon to imprison them in isolated camps. Participants will include Nancy Katagiri Beck, a Sansei (third generation) whose parents were at Minidoka Camp, and her husband Vernon, President of the Japan Society of Fairfield County; Margret Mukai whose mother was at Mills College and established a library at the Tanforan Assembly Center before being sent to Topaz Camp; Lorraine Leiko Miyahara, from West Hartford, who, beginning at age 13, endured three years of internment before fulfilling her destiny as an accomplished artist and author; and Lou DiGiusto a film and television producer and director living in Darien, CT, who has produced documentaries for PBS and documentaries about Medal of Honor recipients and military heroes. This event is a unique opportunity to learn firsthand about what historians describe as a little known, misunderstood and neglected event in U.S. history that still resonates when we address human rights in the context of current international conflicts.

About Greenwich Reads Together

Greenwich Reads Together is a community-wide reading experience, which will engage all of Greenwich in exploring a single book. Community organizations leading this initiative include Greenwich Library, Greenwich Arts Council, Greenwich Historical Society, Greenwich Alliance for Education, Greenwich Pen Women, Greenwich public and private schools, and Friends of Greenwich Library. Last spring, almost 20 community organizations and more than 3,000 people participated in the event.

This year's featured book is When the Emperor was Divine, a work of enormous power that makes a shameful episode of our history as immediate as today's headlines. In this lean and devastatingly evocative novel, Julie Otsuka relates the story from five flawlessly realized points of view and conveys the exact emotional texture of their experience: the thin-walled barracks and barbed-wire fences, the omnipresent fear and loneliness, the unheralded feats of heroism.

Greenwich Reads Together 2013 is supported by Lead Sponsor Wiggin and Dana, LLP, as well as Connecticut Center for the Book at Connecticut Humanities, Friends of Greenwich Library, Greenwich Library Board of Trustees, Dr. Laura and Mr. Robert Glanville, Rotary Club of Greenwich and Whole Foods Market Greenwich. For more information, visit To learn more about Catherine Ladnier's work, visit

The Future Day of Radiant Peace
Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Greenwich Historical Society, Vanderbilt Education Center
39 Strickland Road, Cos Cob, CT 06807
Admission is free but reservations are strongly suggested.
Call 203-869-6899, Ext. 10

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