Photo: Shawn Gust Yakima Herald-Republic
As U.S. sent Japanese to camps, Yakima Valley duo took a stand
BY TAMMY AYER
OCTOBER 15, 2017 2:53 PM
Esther Short Boyd was working as usual at the R.R. Short Hardware store in Wapato when a man walked in and identified himself as president of one of the local Granges, a national fraternal association for farmers.
“You went to the Tolan Hearing,” he said. That’s correct, she replied. “Then we can’t trade with you,” he added, reflecting the anti-Japanese sentiment running high in the wake of Pearl Harbor.
She told him that was his privilege.
“It was my privilege to make my own decisions and do what I considered right,” Boyd recalled years later of the brief exchange in the spring of 1942.
Boyd and Wapato farmer Dan McDonald Sr. had testified in Seattle in March of that year on behalf of Yakima Valley residents of Japanese heritage potentially impacted by Executive Order 9066.
Signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on Feb. 19, 1942, the order forced approximately 120,000 West Coast residents of Japanese ancestry into remote prison camps. The order would eventually include 1,017 from the Valley, who were sent to Heart Mountain Relocation Center near Powell, Wyo.