During World War II, Japanese Americans faced racial prejudices and fear of potential sabotage and espionage by the Government of the United States. There were over 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry dwelling in the United States. Most families in West Coast sold their belongings at a significant loss, and some rented their properties to neighbors, while many abandoned their properties. They did not know what would happen next and where they were going or for how long. Each family was assigned an identification number and loaded into cars, buses, trucks, and trains, taking only what they could carry. Japanese Americans were transported under military guard to 17 temporary assembly centers located at racetracks, fairgrounds, and similar facilities in Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona. Manzanar, located in the Owens Valley of California between the Sierra Nevada on the west and the Inyo mountains on the east, was typical in many ways of the ten concentration camps.
In 1943, Ansel Adams (1902-1984), America’s most well-known photographer, visited these camps and documented the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California.