Statement of Significance (as of designation - February 4, 1985):
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Exectutive Order 9066, authorizing the Secretary of War to exclude citizens and aliens from certain designated areas as a security measure against sabotage and espionage. As a result, 110,00 persons of Japanese descent, most of them American citizens, were forcibly removed from their homes in California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska, and transported to permanent camps far from the Pacific Coast. Manzanar was the first of these camps. Here, in the desert of the Owens Valley, 10,000 people were herded into barracks without being accused of any crime or given any hearing or trial. The camp closed on November 21, 1945.