The Wyoming State Archives hosts author Bradford Pearson speaking on his book, “The Eagles of Heart Mountain,” on Thursday, June 9, at 7 p.m. as a hybrid virtual event and viewing party at the Wyoming State Museum classroom, located at 2301 Central Avenue in Cheyenne. This free public event is part of the Archives’ year-long Thursday evening speaker series.
In the spring of 1942, the United States government forced 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes in California, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona and sent them to incarceration camps across the West. Nearly 14,000 of them landed on the outskirts of Cody, Wyoming, at the base of Heart Mountain.
Behind barbed wire fences, they faced racism, cruelty, and frozen winters. Trying to recreate comforts from home, they established Buddhist temples and sumo wrestling pits. Kabuki performances drew hundreds of spectators—yet there was little hope.
That is, until the fall of 1943, when the camp’s high school football team, the Eagles, started its first season and finished undefeated, crushing the competition from nearby, predominantly white high schools. Amid all this excitement, American politics continued to disrupt their lives as the federal government drafted men from the camps for the front lines—including some of the Eagles. As the team’s second season kicked off, the young men faced a choice to either join the Army or resist the draft. Teammates were divided, and some were jailed for their decisions.
Bradford Pearson is the former features editor of “Southwest: The Magazine.” He has written for “The New York Times,” “Esquire”, “Time,” and “Salon,” among many other publications. He has a BA in international relations from Saint Joseph’s University (2006), and was the 2014 recipient of the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Marshall Memorial Fellowship, which took him to Europe to study media on the continent. He grew up in Hyde Park, New York, and now lives in Philadelphia with his family. He became interested in the Heart Mountain football team while visiting Wyoming for a magazine story several years ago. The Eagles of Heart Mountain is his first book.
Those unable to attend this event in-person may participate in the virtual event. To register, use the link via eventbrite. A recording will be available on the WSA YouTube channel the week following the talk.
The WSA Speaker Series hosts talks at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. Upcoming topics include “Barney L. Ford and The American Dream: From Enslavement to Business Leader Urbana Preservation and Planning” with Dr. Doug Kupel on July 14th and historian Dave Marcum is scheduled to speak about “Bombing Wyoming: Operation Fu-Go” on August 11th, with others scheduled throughout the year. Check out the WSA events webpage for updates.
The Wyoming State Archives collects, manages, and preserves Wyoming state public records that have long-term administrative, legal, and historical value. These records document the history of our state and the activities of Wyoming Government offices. The Archives also collects non-government records that contribute to the understanding of the state’s history.
For further information, contact Sara Davis, State Archivist, at 307-777-8691 or at email@example.com.
The Wyoming State Archives is accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. If you require special assistance, please contact the Wyoming State Archives at 307-777-7826.