Anti-memorials and World War II Heritage in the San Francisco Bay Area: Spaces of the 1942 Black Sailors’ Uprising

Anti-memorials and World War II Heritage in the San Francisco Bay Area: Spaces of the 1942 Black... ABSTRACT: This essay excavates a little-known uprising of black sailors in Vallejo, California, a World War II boomtown where, in late December 1942, African American Navy personnel rose up to resist racism and to contest segregation at the Mare Island Navy Depot. White personnel sent to put down the revolt shot at least two unarmed black sailors. I focus on one site of reported violence: a downtown intersection, a location and incident interpreted in a woodcut print by artist Frank Rowe. The image contrasts with the uprising’s invisibility within the downtown spaces of the city. Accordingly, this text introduces a different understanding of the design concept of the “anti-memorial” to describe this elusive site of oppression as a geographic space that destabilizes and de-territorializes readings of the World War II home front, concluding that the Vallejo anti-memorial is a limen between the existing spatial memory that conceals military oppression and its potential reclamation for justice. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Landscape Journal: design, planning, and management of the land University of Wisconsin Press

Anti-memorials and World War II Heritage in the San Francisco Bay Area: Spaces of the 1942 Black Sailors’ Uprising

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
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Copyright © University of Wisconsin Press
ISSN
1553-2704
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Abstract

ABSTRACT: This essay excavates a little-known uprising of black sailors in Vallejo, California, a World War II boomtown where, in late December 1942, African American Navy personnel rose up to resist racism and to contest segregation at the Mare Island Navy Depot. White personnel sent to put down the revolt shot at least two unarmed black sailors. I focus on one site of reported violence: a downtown intersection, a location and incident interpreted in a woodcut print by artist Frank Rowe. The image contrasts with the uprising’s invisibility within the downtown spaces of the city. Accordingly, this text introduces a different understanding of the design concept of the “anti-memorial” to describe this elusive site of oppression as a geographic space that destabilizes and de-territorializes readings of the World War II home front, concluding that the Vallejo anti-memorial is a limen between the existing spatial memory that conceals military oppression and its potential reclamation for justice.

Journal

Landscape Journal: design, planning, and management of the landUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Mar 15, 2015

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