Archives, Libraries, and Other Resources:
- California State Library’s Research Guides, African Americans in California
- L.A. County Library’s Black Resource Center
- Oakland Public Library’s African American Museum and Library in Oakland
- Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum in Culver City
- Pasadena Museum of History’s Black History Collection at USC digital library
Blogs, websites, and other content:
- Check out Gold Chains: The Hidden History of Slavery in California for stories like that of Mary Ellen Pleasant, mother of the California civil rights movement, California fugitive slave laws, and many more.
- Don’t miss California African American Museum and Susan Anderson’s piece: The Long Fight Leading to Kamala Harris, plus lots of great videos available via their Youtube Channel.
- Explore Los Angeles Public Library’s African American History Blogs, podcasts, and The African American Experience: The American Mosaic, an online resource that encompasses the myriad contributions of African Americans who have achieved cultural and historical prominence.
Digital Programs, video, and online exhibitions:
- This month, California Historical Society is excited to present a new online program: Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era. Don’t miss our collection of great past programs, available on our YouTube channel including:
- Revealing San Francisco’s Hidden 19th-Century Black History: A Tour of CHS Artifacts with California Historical Society, California African American Museum, Institute for Historical Study, and SF History Days.
- African Americans, the “Iron Road”, and Manifest Destiny
- African Americans in San Francisco: Before, During, and After the 1915 World’s Fair
- The Black Panther Party in San Francisco: Impact, Legacy, and Continued Inspiration
- Take a digital walk-though of Oakland Museum of California’s Black Power exhibition, now available online.
- Watch Museum of the African Diaspora’s Art As We See It: Photography program where MoAD Docents look at some of the earliest photographs of Black women, men, children, and families. They present daguerreotypes and ambrotypes found in several public domain archives while they discuss esthetics, cultural context and the capacity of early photography in forming social representation. Watch other past episodes on their YouTube channel and find upcoming programs here.
- Explore the role of the Mormon Church and the spread of slavery across the continent in the mid 19th-century through the life of Biddy Mason with The Trials of Biddy Mason, a program from the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Garden.
- Watch Black Migrations, a film depicting six people’s oral history of migration to San Francisco from the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society
Upcoming Live programs:
- In Search of Our Black Queer Ancestors: A Conversation between Historian-Journalist Channing Gerard Joseph and Susan Stryker from Mills Performing Arts on Thursday, February 4, 2021.
- Black Migrations to Los Angeles and the Development of Popular Music and Dance Scene in the Early Twentieth Century with Alison Rose Jefferson, from the Los Angeles City Historical Society on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.
- Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 from California African American Museum in Los Angeles on Thursday, February 4, 2021.
- Take a stroll through San Francisco’s Transgender Cultural District. Founded by three black trans women in 2017 as Compton’s Transgender Cultural District, The Transgender District is the first legally recognized transgender district in the world. Originally named after the first documented uprising of transgender and queer people in United States history, the Compton’s Cafeteria Riots of 1966, the district encompasses 6 blocks in the southeastern Tenderloin and crosses over Market Street to include two blocks of 6th street. In 2016, the City of San Francisco renamed portions of Turk and Taylor to commemorate the historic contributions of transgender people, renaming them “Compton’s Cafeteria Way” and “Vikki Mar Lane” respectively. Don’t miss the Black Trans Lives Matter mural at Turk & Taylor Streets.
- Though the Black Panther Party officially disbanded in 1982, the group’s legacy and presence remain today. Over the course of 16 years, the Panthers created over 65 documented survival programs like the breakfast and lunch program for school children, free health clinics and sickle cell anemia testing. The Panthers advocated for health care, affordable housing, education, and political control through local elections. Visit 12 Oakland locations where the Black Panther Party made history via Black Panther History driving self-tour.
- Visit Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. Read more about Colonel Allensworth and the self-sufficient black community he founded in California.
- Biddy Mason Memorial Park in Los Angeles. The park honors pioneering black woman and former-slave Bridget “Biddy” Mason. As a free woman, Mason settled in Los Angeles with her children and found work as a nurse and midwife. Over the course of her life, Mason purchased property and became a prominent landowner and philanthropist in Los Angeles. Learn more about Biddy Mason here.
- The 1944 Port Chicago disaster occurred at the naval magazine and resulted in the largest domestic loss of life during World War II. 320 sailors and civilians were instantly killed on July 17, 1944, when the ships they were loading with ammunition and bombs exploded. The majority of the deaths were African American sailors working for the racially segregated military. Visit the Port Chicago Naval Magazine (temporarily closed).
- Before there were National Park Service rangers, there was the U.S. Army. And within the army, a remarkable unit known as the Buffalo Soldiers had lasting impacts in places still preserved as national parks today. Retrace the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers in Yosemite National Park and the Presidio of San Francisco.
- The Noah Purifoy Outdoor Sculpture Museum in Joshua Tree. Born in Snow Hill, Alabama in 1917, Noah Purifoy lived and worked most of his life in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree. His earliest body of sculpture, constructed out of charred debris from the 1965 Watts rebellion, was the basis for 66 Signs of Neon, the landmark 1966 group exhibition on the Watts riots that traveled throughout the country. In the late 1980s, after 11 years of public policy work for the California Arts Council, where Purifoy initiated programs such as Artists in Social Institutions,which brought art into the state prison system, Purifoy moved his practice out to the Mojave desert. He lived for the last 15 years of his life creating ten acres full of large-scale sculpture on the desert floor. Constructed entirely from junked materials, this otherworldly environment is one of California’s great art historical wonders.