Lot 47 of 613:
First issue of Principal literary venue of interned Japanese-American writers   

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$200 - $300

Common Ground, Spring 1942

Common Council for American Unity





Original wrappers. 120pp. Illustrated with photographs.

First wartime issue of the principal literary venue for interned Japanese-American writers during World War II

Indirectly descended from a US intelligence agency of World War I, the quarterly “Common Ground”, published from 1940 to 1949, aiming to promote tolerance of racial, ethnic and religious differences in World War II America, offered Japanese-American writers the only venue, albeit one with limited public distribution, for describing the horrendous experience of forced internment, This issue, which appeared while the 10 concentration camps were being populated, was the first and arguably most important of the many issues with Nisei contributions (later to include the first appearance of the words and drawings of Mine Okubo, collected in her now-classic Citizen 13660).

In this issue, Mary Oyama and Tooru Kanazawa described the impact of Pearl Harbor on the Japanese-American communities of California and New York; Mike Masaoka proclaimed “The Japanese American Creed”; and Satoko Murakami, a California college teacher, wrote about Nisei courage in the face of adversity, while a diplomatically-written piece by Eleanor Roosevelt hinted at her private dissent from her husband’s presidential order for “relocation”.
The issue also published a poem by African-American Langston Hughes, who often wrote for the periodical, an article by a Chinese-American in Hawaii, and of particular literary interest, the first major appearance in print of American folksong writer Woody Guthrie.

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