People leaving the Buddhist church in the Block 13 recreation hall at Manzanar in the winter of 1943. (Photo by Ansel Adams/Library of Congress)

Manzanar National Historic Site will observe the 2016 Day of Remembrance on Friday, Feb. 19, and Saturday, Feb. 20, at 2 p.m.

Manzanar Park Ranger Rose Masters will present “Religious Freedom Confined: Spiritual Practice under the WCCA and WRA.”

When the Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA) and later the War Relocation Authority (WRA) forcibly confined more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast, these government entities claimed they intended to uphold the constitutional promise of religious freedom. Masters’ presentation aims to clarify if this intention matched the reality of spiritual practices in the camps.

Which religious practices were allowed? Which were limited or forbidden? What does a concept like freedom of religion mean when it must reside within Manzanar — a place very much defined by freedoms the government wrongfully revoked?

The program is free and open to the public. Manzanar National Historic Site is located at 5001 Hwy. 395 in Independence. For more information, call (760) 878-2194, ext. 3310 or visit

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