Like the rest of the American West, the mid-Columbia region has always been diverse. Its history mirrors common multiracial narratives, but with important nuances. In the late 1880s, Chinese railroad workers were segregated to East Pasco, a practice that later extended to all non-whites and continued for decades. Kennewick residents became openly proud of their status as a “lily-white” town. In Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance, four scholars—Laura Arata, Robert Bauman, Robert Franklin, and Thomas E. Marceau—draw from Hanford History Project, Atomic Heritage Foundation, and Afro-American Community Cultural and Educational Society oral histories to focus on the experiences of non-white groups whose lives were deeply impacted by the Hanford Site. Linked in ways they likely could not know, each group resisted the segregation and discrimination they encountered, and in the process, challenged the region’s dominant racial norms.
The Wanapum, evicted by Hanford Nuclear Reservation construction, relate stories of their people, as well as their responses to dislocation and forced evacuation. Unable to interact with the ancient landscapes and utilize the natural resources of their traditional lands, they suffered painful, irretrievable losses. Early arrivals to the town of Pasco, the Yamauchi family built the American dream—including successful businesses and highly educated children—only to have their aspirations crushed by World War II Japanese-American internment. Thousands of African Americans migrated to the area for wartime jobs and discovered rampant segregation. Through negotiations, demonstrations, and protests, they fought the region’s ingrained racial disparity. During the early years of the Cold War, Black women, mostly from East Texas, also relocated to work at Hanford. They offer a unique perspective on employment, discrimination, family, and faith.
The Hanford History Series includes two additional volumes. The first, Nowhere to Remember, utilizes oral histories to describe the towns of Hanford, White Bluffs, and Richland before and after their mandatory 1943 evacuation. The second, Legacies of the Manhattan Project, combines conference essays and new research to provide a timely reevaluation of the Manhattan Project and its complex repercussions.
Watch a virtual event by the Echoes of Exclusion authors.
Hanford Histories Volume 3
Illustrations / maps / notes / bibliography / index / 6″ x 9″ / 274 pages / 2021
ISBN 978-0-87422-382-8 Paperback