Relocation: Why some picked Colorado

Weld’s foreign-born residents considered potential “enemy aliens” during World War II.
 By Peggy Ford Waldo
Programming Curator, Greeley (Colorado) History Museum

......Throughout Colorado, anti-Japanese sentiment was high. The Greeley Jaycees and a large contingent of local farmers issued a moratorium against accepting the Japanese from the West Coast as farm workers. A voter-sponsored ballot initiative to prevent aliens from owning land was introduced but defeated.

Gov. Ralph L. Carr was the only U.S. governor to graciously extend an invitation for the Japanese evacuees to come to Colorado. Carr, a Republican, served as governor from 1939-1943 and was a humanitarian and a champion of civil rights. He was aware that two-thirds of the Japanese being uprooted from their West Coast homes, farms and businesses were not first-generation Japanese but second- and third-generation American-born citizens. Carr noted that they were “loyal Americans, sharing only race with the enemy.” Carr didn’t believe they were a security threat and didn’t require military security at Camp Amache. 

In a speech, Carr said, “If you harm them, you harm me. I was brought up in a small town where I knew the shame and dishonor of race hatred. I grew to despise it because it threatened the happiness of you, and you, and you.”


NOTE: In 1943, many Poston internees found private employment in Colorado, their first job after being released from Poston, Arizona.