Mary Yamashita Nagao
Mary Yamashita Nagao, 1920-1985
Courtesy, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA.
Many Japanese American women, men, and children, who had been interned in the Western United States under Executive Order 9066 during World War II, resettled in New Jersey in Upper Deerfield Township to work at Seabrook Farms. Women such as Mary Nagao, who moved from the Manzanar Relocation Center in California, and journalist Ellen Nakamura, who moved from the Jerome internment camp in Arizona, became employees of Seabrook Farms and took leadership roles in the Japanese American Citizens League and in the wider community. Nagao became production firewoman and a union representative for the Amalgamated Food and Meat Cutters’ Union, Local No. 56, which represented frozen food and cannery workers in southern New Jersey. This photograph shows Mary Nagao working as a seamstress while at the Manzanar camp.
Burstyn, Joan N. 1990. “Mary Yamashita Nagao”. Past and Promise, Lives of New Jersey Women. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/54795059
Questions to Explore
How did WWII affect the lives of Japanese American women?
What were some positive changes that occurred because of Nagao’s work?