History Initiatives at Los Alamos and Hanford

History Initiatives at Los Alamos and Hanford

African-American construction workers at Hanford

A new book by oral historian Peter Malmgren and journalist Kay Matthews, Los Alamos Revisited: A Workers' History, shares the stories of northern New Mexico residents who worked at the Los Alamos laboratory during the Manhattan Project and after the war. As Malmgren writes, "The historical record is filled with accounts from scientists and pundits, but the voices of the technicians, engineers, trades people, and many others remain silent."

Beginning in 2000, Malmgren conducted approximately 150 interviews touching on topics such as patriotism, discrimination, and cancer and other health problems. The book was recently featured in the Santa Fe New Mexican. AHF's October 2017 interview with Malmgren will be published on the "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website soon.

A new exhibit developed by the Los Alamos History Museum, "Women, Science, and Project Y," is now on display at the Los Alamos County Municipal Building. The exhibit profiles some of the women who participated in the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, including scientists, "computers," technicians, nurses, and more. As the Museum notes, by the end of World War II, about 640 women were working on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, representing about 11% of the Los Alamos staff. Explosives technician Frances Dunne, physicist Jane Hall, and hematologist Floy Agnes Lee are among the women featured in the exhibit.

On Saturday, February 3, an open house at the Richland, WA Public Library marked the launch of an oral history project on African American history in the Hanford area. The project is a collaboration between the Hanford History Project at Washington State University-Tri Cities, AACCES (African American Community Cultural and Educational Society), the National Park Service, and the Richland Public Library.

This initiative will research and document the experiences of African Americans in the Tri-Cities from the Manhattan Project through the civil rights era, focusing on African American migration to Hanford during World War II, segregation, and local civil rights history. The project is seeking to interview African Americans who worked at Hanford or lived in the Tri-Cities between 1943 and the late 1960s. For more information, visit the Hanford History Project's website. The open house was featured in the Tri-City Herald.