The original photo was taken on April 25, 1942 by documentary photographer Dorothea Lange. She heavily documented the Japanese American Internment of World War II, and her photographs told the story of the many American citizens detained against their will until January of 1945. This photo captures the tone of the day, and the dignity with which the Japanese Americans of San Francisco faced the government action which Ronald Reagan in 1988 would say in an official apology were based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership."
The original captions states: "San Francisco, California. Bush Street, San Francisco. Japanese family heads and persons living alone form a line outside Civil Control station located in the Japanese American Citizens League Auditorium at 2031 Bush Street, to appear for "processing" in response to Civilian Exclusion Order Number 20."
The photo at the National Archives:
National Archives Identifier: 536421
Local Identifier: 210-G-A529
Creator(s): Department of the Interior. War Relocation Authority. (02/16/1944 - 06/30/1946) (Most Recent)
From: Series : Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority, compiled 1942 - 1945
Persistant URL: research.archives.gov/arcdataviewer/faces/showDetail?file...
This photo was captured using the LookBackMaps iPhone app photo overlay feature, which allows you to explore historic photos in person, and view historic photos over your camera view. You can see this photo mapped on Bush near Buchanan here.