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Saturday, February 19, 2022

11:30 a.m.

Trinity United Methodist Church

225 West President Street

Bradford Pearson


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, many 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 it 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.

The Eagles of Heart Mountain honors the resilience of extraordinary heroes and the power of sports in a sweeping and inspirational portrait of one of the darkest moments in American history.


Bradford Pearson is an award-winning journalist whose work examines everything from magicians to Japanese American incarceration to his own kidnapping. He’s written for The New York Times, and Esquire, Time, Men’s Health, and Philadelphia magazines, among many other publications. He is a 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 wife and two children. The Eagles of Heart Mountain is his first book.