Then They Came for Me


Then They Came for Me:

Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII
and the Demise of Civil Liberties

Alphawood Gallery Continues Its Social Justice Mission


CHICAGO (March 9, 2017) Alphawood Gallery announces Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties, an original exhibition opening at 2401 N. Halsted Street, Chicago in June 2017.


Then They Came for Me will examine a difficult and painful episode in the history of the United States when the federal government forcibly removed and imprisoned thousands of American citizens without due process simply for being born Japanese American.  Through an exploration of art, artifacts and programming, Then They Came For Me will invite comparisons between this dark chapter in America’s past and current political events.  The exhibition will be free and open to the public.


Then They Came for Me will be unveiled in multiple phases in 2017.  It will open with a major installation of photographs by several noted American photographers, including Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange, documenting the eviction of Japanese Americans and permanent Japanese residents from their homes and their subsequent lives in incarceration camps.  Adams, Lange and others were hired by the U.S. Government’s War Relocation Authority to document the “evacuation” and “internment” of Japanese Americans along the West Coast. Lange left the program after three months, and some of her photographs, which revealed her growing unease with the circumstances she encountered, were impounded by the military for the duration of the war.


This opening exhibition draws in large part on photographs included in the book Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II recently published by Chicago authors and photo historians Richard Cahan and Michael Williams.


Subsequent exhibitions and programming will be announced in coming weeks.


Then They Came for Me is supported by Alphawood Foundation Chicago in cooperation with the Japanese American Service Committee of Chicago and other organizations.  This exhibition follows the groundbreaking Art AIDS America currently on display at Alphawood Gallery through April 2, 2017.



Alphawood Foundation Chicago is a grant making private foundation working for an equitable, just and humane society. It awards grants to more than 200 organizations annually, primarily in the areas of the arts and arts education, advocacy, architecture and preservation, domestic violence prevention, the environment, promotion and protection of the rights of LGBT citizens and people living with HIV/AIDS, and other human and civil rights.



Alphawood Gallery was created by Alphawood Foundation Chicago to serve as a site for the display of exhibitions furthering the Foundation’s charitable mission.  The space first served this purpose for the presentation of Art AIDS America, an acclaimed exhibition that opened in December 2016.


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