The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) was a major civil rights organization seeking to protect Japanese Americans and ensure their humane treatment and fundamental rights during World War II when many were forced into incarceration camps. One of the largest camps was Minidoka, located near Twin Falls, Idaho, and housed more than 10,000 Japanese Americans. It is considered a shameful moment in the state history as innocent civilians were forced to leave their homes due to overall fear and mistrust of the public.
Due to tense emotions, there were instances of abuse and injustice. JACL sought to ensure that the Japanese American citizens were treated humanely and not abused as a labor force. Over the years that the camp existed, Japanese Americans contributed tremendously to the state’s development and the war effort. Many labored with local farmers in the beet fields. JACL played a critical role in the eventual formation of trust and respect for the Japanese American community that led to the closing of the camps.