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States of Incarceration is created by over 500 people in 17 states, and growing. We explore the roots of mass incarceration in our own communities -- to open national dialogue on what should happen next.
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state:
New Jersey
Local history:
Seabrook Farms and “Free” Labor
How is the racialized prisoner the ideal worker?
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
National Traveling Venue:
Douglass Library, Rutgers University New Brunswick
8 Chapel Drive, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8527
January 22, 2018March 9, 2018

NJ: States of Incarceration New Brunswick Opening

States of Incarceration New Brunswick Opening

January 22, 2018

Douglass Library
8 Chapel Drive
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8527

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New Jersey: Seabrook Farms and “Free” Labor
How is the racialized prisoner the ideal worker?
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Our exploration of Seabrook Farms and its layered histories examines the wartime relationship between captive labor and capitalism, and how social control extended beyond the immediate confines of internment camps. Renowned for its flash-frozen vegetables, by 1950 Seabrook Farms was the largest agribusiness in the United States, employing more than 6,000 laborers. World War II created new opportunities for Seabrook to procure laborers with limited options. This included approximately 2,500 American citizens and immigrants of Japanese descent incarcerated in camps. While federal officials defended internment as a matter of national security, no evidence backed this claim. Internment did reflect white Americans’ longstanding belief that Japanese immigrants and their children were racially unassimilable. At Seabrook, paroled internees worked alongside displaced persons, POWs, and contracted migrant laborers, groups whose freedom of mobility and choice were similarly constrained. A company town, Seabrook’s power over its workforce blurred the line between captivity and freedom.

Our Point of View

The history of Seabrook Farms is largely forgotten in New Jersey. Our state’s residents rarely think about where their food comes from, who grows it, and what costs are associated with its production. In this story, production comes at the cost of civil liberties, self-determination, and racial equality. Given the relevance of these issues today, we want to remind people that the forced choice between security and rights can create unanticipated, complicated consequences.

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New Jersey: Seabrook Farms and “Free” Labor    Rutgers University-New Brunswick
How is the racialized prisoner the ideal worker?
New Jersey: Seabrook Farms and “Free” Labor
How is the racialized prisoner the ideal worker?
  Rutgers University-New Brunswick

National Exhibition Venue    Douglass Library, Rutgers University New Brunswick

Public Dialogues and Events
| January 22 – March 9, 2018

See Full Exhibition & Events Schedule
Exhibition
Jan 22, 2018
Big Oaks Farm Security Administration camp

1943: 516 Jamaican men employed by Seabrook lived in the Big Oaks Farm Security Administration camp. Guestworkers entered the U.S. under government contracts that prohibited them from changing jobs. Courtesy of: Library of Congress

Big Oaks Farm Security Administration camp

1943: 516 Jamaican men employed by Seabrook lived in the Big Oaks Farm Security Administration camp. Guestworkers entered the U.S. under government contracts that prohibited them from changing jobs. Courtesy of: Library of Congress

Monday, January 22, 2018

NJ: States of Incarceration New Brunswick Opening

Description: 

Our exploration of Seabrook Farms and its layered histories examines the wartime relationship between captive labor and capitalism, and how social control extended beyond the immediate confines of internment camps.

Renowned for its flash-frozen vegetables, by 1950 Seabrook Farms was the largest agribusiness in the United States, employing more than 6,000 laborers. World War II created new opportunities for Seabrook to procure laborers with limited options. This included approximately 2,500 American citizens and immigrants of Japanese descent incarcerated in camps. While federal officials defended internment as a matter of national security, no evidence backed this claim and no formal charges were...read more…

Venue: 

Douglass Library
8 Chapel Drive
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8527

Film
Feb 28, 2018

127 newly naturalized citizens take the oath of citizenship in the auditorium of the Seabrook Community House. Credit: Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center, Rutgers University Community Repository Collection

127 newly naturalized citizens take the oath of citizenship in the auditorium of the Seabrook Community House. Credit: Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center, Rutgers University Community Repository Collection

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

NJ: Screening and Discussion of Resistance at Tule Lake with Director Konrad Aderer

Description: 

The dominant narrative of the WWII incarceration of Japanese-Americans has been that they behaved as a "model minority," cooperated without protest, and proved their patriotism by enlisting in the Army. Resistance at Tule Lake, a new feature-length documentary from Third World Newsreel (Camera News Inc.) and directed by Japanese-American filmmaker Konrad Aderer, overturns that myth by telling the long-suppressed story of the Tule Lake Segregation Center.

Konrad Aderer (Director/Producer) is a Japanese-American filmmaker whose documentaries have focused on immigrants affected by detention and deportation. His feature documentary Enemy Alien received a Courage in Media award from CAIR and a Pacific...read more…

Time: 
7:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Venue: 

Rutgers Cinema, Livingston Campus

105 Joyce Kilmer Ave,

Piscataway Township, NJ 08854

Mar 1, 2018

127 newly naturalized citizens take the oath of citizenship in the auditorium of the Seabrook Community House. Credit: Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center, Rutgers University Community Repository Collection

127 newly naturalized citizens take the oath of citizenship in the auditorium of the Seabrook Community House. Credit: Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center, Rutgers University Community Repository Collection

Thursday, March 1, 2018

NJ: Buffet Dinner, Exhibit Tour, and Production of The Castle

Description: 

This event begins with a buffet dinner, followed by guided tours of the States of Incarceration exhibition given by undergraduate students who are training as docents and dialogue facilitators at the Aresty Research Institute. The evening will conclude with a production of The Castle, a play produced by The Fortune Society and directed by Eric Krebs. It casts formerly incarcerated individuals in a theatrical production exploring issues related to parole, release, and social integration.read more…

Time: 
6 PM to 9 PM
Venue: 

Mabel Smith Douglass Room, Douglass Library

8 Chapel Dr

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Conference
Mar 2, 2018

Seabrook Farms Promotional Materials Courtesy of: War Relocation Authority Records, National Archives

Seabrook Farms Promotional Materials Courtesy of: War Relocation Authority Records, National Archives

Friday, March 2, 2018

NJ: Seabrook Farms and "Free" Labor Conference

Description: 

This conference explores themes related to the different components of the States of Incarceration Exhibit, highlighting the local history of Seabrook Farms, which was a significant contribution to the national exhibit, designed and curated by Rutgers University students working alongside Professor Andy Urban.

The first panel is centered on perspectives from the front lines of the movement to advocate for agricultural workers and features representatives from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Campaign for Fair Food and CATA: The Farmworker Support Committee, who will discuss pressing issues such as immigration raids, sexual harassment, and wage theft. Participants will also highlight...read more…

Time: 
12 PM to 5 PM
Venue: 

Mabel Smith Douglass Room, Douglass Library

8 Chapel Dr.

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

States of Incarceration is created by over 500 people in 17 states, and growing. We explore the roots of mass incarceration in our own communities—to open national dialogue on what should happen next. Click on a state to learn more.

States of Incarceration is created by over 500 people in 17 states, and growing. We explore the roots of mass incarceration in our own communities—to open national dialogue on what should happen next. Click on a state to learn more.

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