Webinar recording: Making Visible Overlooked Stories of African Americans in California Dreams with Dr. Alison Rose Jefferson

Based on a chapter in Dr. Jefferson’s forthcoming book with the working title Leisure’s Race, Power and Place in Los Angeles and California Dreams in the Jim Crow Era to be published by the University of Nebraska Press, in this presentation she will briefly discuss the history and public memory of the African American experience at a Santa Monica, California beach site that has some times been called “the Inkwell” and the city of Manhattan Beach’s, Bruce’s Beach. Additionally, she will discuss her efforts towards innovative public programming forged in new partnerships with colleagues in ocean stewardship as well as in the history industry, social action and ocean aquatics, to build interpretation projects at these sites that are facilitating pathways to broader and younger audiences by connecting them with overlooked culturally diverse stories of our collective history and national heritage.


Commemorated with landmark monuments and a park renaming, these sites were preferred gathering place in the Los Angeles region for African Americans during the Jim Crow era for varied durations. In their leisure making practices they made history there, before and after, racial restriction attempts on California’s public beaches were abandoned in 1927. These local stories contribute to the national narrative of mass movement that illustrates how the struggle for leisure and public space, alongside political and economic issues, also reshaped the long civil rights movement.


Dr. Jefferson is a historian and heritage conservation consultant whose research explores the intersection of the history of the African American experience in Southern California, historical memory, heritage conservation, and, spatial and social justice.

A recording of the webinar can be found here.

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