Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Yamato Colony

The Yamato Colony was a community of Japanese-American farmers, located in what is now Boca Raton. It began in 1903 when Jo Sakai obtained land from Henry Flagler's Model Land Company. Things started off well enough, but the colony was first plagued by pineapple blight, then by competition from Cuba where the fruits matured earlier.

The advent of World War II spelled the end of the colony. As George Takei has chronicled in his new musical Allegiance, the rights of Japanese-American citizens were stripped away across the nation. A judge in Florida ordered the Japanese out and awarded immediate possession of 6,000 acres of their property to the federal government for the creation of an Army Air Corps technical training facility.

Today, the Morikami Museum stands as a tribute to the forgotten days of the Yamato Colony and the people who kept it going.

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