Riverside has been for me an open museum of immigration –I sadly remember the premature death of the New Americans Museum-, and one of those moments in the puzzle where the pieces start to reveal a clear picture. As immigrants, the first course to take should be Immigration to the US 101. I say this because I took that course by running the streets of Riverside, starting with this portrait of the Harada family, by Simic. I saw it first sometime in January of 2014, and then I thought about it day and night, researching here and there the story behind it.
The adventure finally took off sometime in October, and there I was, learning the long way what should have been the actual contents of that first class I took on American History, within the first month of setting foot in the US.
Ken and Jukichi Harada, a school teacher and the daughter of a Samurai, came to the US at the beginning of the 20th Century. They worked hard to give their children a comfortable life, yet their American experience offered them challenge after challenge. Ken and Jukichi both died at the Internment Campo of Topaz, in Utah. Only their daughter, Sumi, lived through old age at the house that caused them years of litigation and head aches. The house is, today, one of two buildings in the National Register of Historic Sites.
To read the published text please click here: Retrato recuerda la lucha contra la discriminación
I started working the Western End of Riverside County in 2013. A fascinating local history can only be paired with a burgeoning urban center showing the fastest growth in the entire US since 2012.