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Nisei Digital Exhibit: The Battle of Parkville

Learn more about the Nisei Collection from the Fishburn Archives, which digitized more than 2,100 artifacts from the second-generation Japanese American (Nisei) students who enrolled at Park and other Missouri universities after WWII.
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The Battle of Parkville

Dr. Young believed he would face minimal opposition from the community in bringing Nisei students to Park University. "For many years we have had orientals, including Japanese, on our campus, and have two of them on the campus at present...we have never had any difficulty on this score," he wrote in a letter to Joseph Conrad in 1942.

In reality, though, the surrounding community objected strongly to bringing Japanese American students to campus. In what has since been called "The Battle of Parkville," Dr. Young conducted a letter-writing campaign responding to the controversy and advocating for Nisei student admittance. He sent over 1,000 letters to community members, and solicited Park University alumni and prominent leaders around the country to write letters in support. He received over 500 responses.

"What about the thousands upon thousands of young men and women already in our college whose parents were born in Germany?" he asked in a letter quoted by the Kansas City Star in 1942. "Nothing has been said about this group. Is an American born Japanese any worse than an American born German according to our way of life? Or is war hysteria making us lose sight of our democratic ideals and the priceless guarantee that all Americans are free, equal and to have the same opportunities?

Fox 4 News: The Battle of Parkville

The Battle of Parkville: Resistance to Japanese-American Students at Park College

Primary Sources: The Battle of Parkville

The Battle of Parkville Remembered

Letter describing protection of Nisei students

Letter of support for Dr. Young

Journal of Presbyterian History

The Park Alumniad

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