Mario Vega’s project, which involves both archival work and oral history, will culminate in the creation of an online digital history exhibit detailing the life of Tom Haji, a Japanese-American who lived in Monroe, Washington during the Great Depression. Haji was interned at Tule Lake, California after Pearl Harbor. He died in Italy in 1945 as a member of the 442nd Combat Regiment. Though relatively short, his life offers important insight into questions regarding Washington state history, rural history, U.S. military history, immigration history, and the histories of race, internment, segregation, and integration in the mid-twentieth century.
This digital exhibit will preserve the primary source record of Haji’s life, place Haji and his family within wider social, economic, and political contexts, and above all, make his story widely accessible to scholars and the general public.