“Maybe it had started then, I’m not sure, or maybe it wasn’t until I’d seen them send the Japanese away that I’d noticed it. Little Riki Oyana singing ‘God Bless America’ and going to Santa Anita with his parents next day. It was taking a man up by the roots and locking him up without a chance. Without a trial. Without a charge. Without even giving him a chance to say one word. It was thinking about if they ever did that to me, Robert Jones, Mrs. Jones’s dark son, that started me getting scared” (3).
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. The Executive Order authorized the removal and internment of over 110,000 Japanese Americans. Throughout Chester Himes' novel, the character Bob relates the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II to his personal reality and feeling of entrapment.
Japanese Americans like the character Riki Oyana were sent to the Santa Anita Racetrack Assembly Center before being transferred to relocation centers.
Photographs of the Santa Anita Racetrack:
Map of Japanese American Imprisonment During World War II: