The collection chronicles the Japanese American experience in the United States from immigration and settlement to contemporary times. The focus is on the World War II period when, without evidence and due process of law, Japanese American citizens and their families were forcefully removed from their homes, deprived of their property and constitutional rights, and collectively placed in internment camps. The extent of the loyalty, courage, and spirit of these men and women of Japanese ancestry is related through writings, oral testimony, government and camp publications, photographs, and surviving works of art. The collection documents the reparation movement almost fifty years after the internment, resulting in the President of the United States of America, Congress, and the Courts formally apologizing and providing redress for camp survivors.
The Japanese American Archival Collection originated from a gift of photographs, documents, and artifacts from the teaching materials of Mary Tsuruko Tsukamoto. Additional gifts to the collection include the Florin JACL Oral History Project, the Issei Oral History Project, the North Central Valley JACL/CSUS Oral History Project, Sacramento VFW Nisei Post 8985, and donations from the Japanese American community.