Digital exhibition “Invisible Restraints: Life and Labor at Seabrook Farms,” is now available through the New Jersey Digital Highway.
Historians and history buffs interested in New Jersey history, labor history, or the history of World War II—and in particular the history of Japanese internees during the war—will enjoy exploring this interactive exhibit of the history of Seabrook Farms. Scroll through the interactive timeline, immerse yourself in poignant personal remembrances of workers and residents of Seabrook, and riffle through photos and visual essays to visualize life on the farm.
Seabrook Farms in Cumberland County, NJ was at one point the largest agribusiness in the United States. The exhibit—the product of graduate and undergraduate students in Professor Urban’s course, “Public Histories of Detention and Mass Incarceration”—explores the wartime relationship between captive labor and capitalism that defined Seabrook.
World War II created new opportunities for Seabrook to procure laborers with limited options who existed in varying states of confinement. This included approximately 2500 American citizens and immigrants of Japanese descent incarcerated by Executive Order 9066.
Released to Seabrook after pledging their loyalty to the United States, paroled internees worked alongside European refugees, German POWs, and Caribbean guest workers—groups whose free mobility and choice were similarly restricted. A company town, Seabrook Farms exercised forms of control and surveillance that continually blurred the line between captivity and freedom.
The exhibit is available here: http://www.njdigitalhighway.org/exhibits/seabrook_farms/