During WWII most newspapers were silent on the Japanese American exclusion or else actively supported it. When the war was finally over, many West Coast communities tried to prevent their former neighbors from returning home. On Bainbridge Island it was just the opposite. Milly and Walt Woodward, editors of the little local paper The Bainbridge Review, consistently spoke out against the exclusion. They ran weekly accounts of significant events in the exiled Islanders’ lives, reported back by high school students–paid as correspondents–in the concentration camps. With the end of the war, the Woodwards and other Islanders welcomed their neighbors home with little incident.
In most West Coast communities the public positions of politicians and the media made it difficult for opponents to speak up. On Bainbridge Island it was the supporters of the exclusion who were apt to keep their opinions to themselves. In Defense of our Neighbors, a book by the Woodwards’ daughter, Mary, records how The Review helped create an environment that was friendly to those who, like the editors, strongly opposed the exclusion.
Contemporary newspaper articles, oral histories of the exiles and other Islanders, and vivid photographs and images combine in this lively and visually attractive, history. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Nidoto Nai Yoni–Let It Not Happen Again–Memorial.