An American Story: Norman Mineta and His Legacy
A first-rate film biography of 10-term congressman Norman Mineta, “An American Story” is also a well-wrought indictment of the woeful treatment of persons of Japanese ancestry by our country. In early 1942, along with tens of thousands of other Japanese Americans, 10-year-old Mineta and his family were swept up in San Jose, Calif., and shipped to what the film aptly describes as "concentration camps." The story’s relevance to the current troubled times is effectively emphasized early on with the juxtaposition of anti-Muslim-American activity after 9/11 with anti-Japanese-American fervor in the wake of Pearl Harbor. Following the war, his family returned to San Jose and, after graduating from the University of California, Mineta entered local politics. He was elected mayor of San Jose in 1971 and went to Washington in 1975. In addition to his years in Congress, Mineta became one of the rare public officials to serve in the cabinet of two presidents of two different parties — Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Skillfully mixing striking archival footage with current interviews, the film both tells a very personal story and illuminates a half-century of political history.
The Crystal City
From 1942-48, in the remote desert town of Crystal City, Texas, the U.S. government operated a little-known World War II internment camp, which held Japanese, German, and Italian families from the U.S. and Latin America.