This song is about the internment of the local Japanese in southern California during WW2 - pretty shameful but understandable. The conditions were barrack-like but they proved model prisoners and built a complete, democratic American township behind the barbed wire fences. Laurie Lewis has recorded this song on 'Seeing Things' - Rounder CD 0428.
Words for Manzanar as follows:
He said, my name is Nakashima and I'm a proud American,
I came here in '24 from my homeland in Japan,
And I picked your grapes and oranges, saved some money, bought a store,
Until 1942, Pearl Harbour and the War.
Came those relocation orders, they took the house, the store, the car,
And they drove us to the desert to a place called Manzanar,
The Spanish word for apple orchard, though we saw no apple trees,
Only rows of prison barracks with barbed wire boundaries.
And we dream of apple blossoms waving free beneath the stars,
'Til we wake up in the desert, the prisoners of Manzanar, Manzanar.
Fifty years have all but vanished and now I am an old man,
And I don't regret the day that I came here from Japan,
But on moonless winter nights I often wish upon a star,
That I'd forget the shame and sorrow that I felt at Manzanar.