Celebrate San Diego: Black History & Heritage exhibition opens
Speaker 1: (00:00)
The San Diego history center's exhibit celebrates San Diego black history and heritage showcases the rich history of black San Diego with fine art heroes and a timeline that walks you through the past. That helps shape America's finest city and the region. Shelby Gordon is the marketing manager at the San Diego history center. And joins us to talk about this exhibit Shelby, thanks for joining us and happy black history month.
Speaker 2: (00:26)
Thank you. It's my pleasure.
Speaker 1: (00:27)
So what can people see and learn from this exhibit?
Speaker 2: (00:31)
Well, you know, I'm a San Diego native born and raised here and San Diego black history was nothing that I was taught in school. A lot of it is what I live, um, and what I heard through familial and, and friend relationships. But the exhibition really gives you a tangible visual graphic understanding of how complex, how deep, how interesting and how elevating the history of black San Diego is
Speaker 1: (01:06)
A, and there's also donated ephemera and fine art included in the exhibit. Why are these pieces so important to sharing the history of black San Diego?
Speaker 2: (01:17)
Well, because I think you want for it to be multidimensional, you want for it to of reflect politics, education, religion, the arts and culture, um, regarding family relationships and business relationships, social justice, and local political activities. So you want for, we want for this to really reflect all of that. So for example, a local San Diego artist, um, duke Windsor has donated two of his paintings, but then we have really unusual things. Like we have the program of Bethel AME for their hundred anniversary. Now, you know, for our black church, anniversaries are big and anniversary programs are even bigger. So for them to have donated to that to us and for us to be able to showcase that in the exhibition is really big. We also have, um, an Olympic participation from Jackie Thompson. Jackie Thompson grew up in San Diego. She was the first black female Olympian to participate in the Olympics. She ran in the Munich Olympics. So it's those kinds of pieces that thankfully people think I want this to be a part of a permanent collection. I want for my experience as a black San Diego, to be part of black San Diego history, but also San Diego history. And
Speaker 1: (02:55)
There is a timeline featured in this exhibit, how much time is, is actually covered.
Speaker 2: (03:00)
It starts in 1798 with a Spanish colonial census document. So it starts there, it goes through 1820 with, um, Don P O PCA being the last governor of California. He was an African American descent. Then it goes through issues of school, segregation of social justice protests in downtown San Diego of the establishment of organizations like the urban league in the ACP. It documents the day that Dr. Martin Luther king Jr gave a speech at what is now known as point Loma Nazare was then known at CA as California Western university. So that's May 29th, 1964, all the way to the day in 2010, when San Diego, the San chapter of black lives matter was formed. So you see just the scope of hundreds of years, multiple decades, how San Diego's population has grown, how they've evolved, formed organizations and advocacy groups, how they've advocated for equal housing, equal employment, equal schooling, you know, San
Speaker 1: (04:26)
Diego is your hometown. Are there any parts of the community that you lived in, or, or maybe even your own family featured in the exhibit?
Speaker 2: (04:35)
Um, it's funny, you should ask. Um, I was working with a partner and she specifically asked me, she said, Shelby, can you pull, uh, a photo of a choir, a black church choir? Um, I wanna use that in, in my, uh, project. And so, um, you know, unbeknownst to me, I just see a picture on our digital site. You can research photos on, on from our website. So I found a photo and I, I just happened to be looking at the, at the caption and I see the name, joy Gordon, and it was my aunt. It was N right. And I was just shocked. I showed it to my dad, of course. And he goes, he could tell me, I remember the day that that photo was taken. And I remember Mr. Bayard and yes, you know, aunt joy sang in the choir for years and she directed the choir.
Speaker 2: (05:32)
And it was interesting because that was last February and N passed well in her nineties that March. So it was real heartwarming and it really sort of grounded me. I'm gonna say in my San Diego that, um, my family has a history here that we have been involved and participating and contributing and, uh, partnering and friending, uh, folks from many decades. I often say San Diego is a small town in a big city and black San Diego is even smaller. Black San Diego is a small, tight knit community. And it's really a great joy and pleasure to have the opportunity to have that very rich history, cataloged and archived at the historical society.
Speaker 1: (06:39)
And just imagine how many people that, uh, pride and sense of belonging, oh, my goodness is extended to, through this, uh, exhibition. I mean, you know, if, if people want to contribute, um, you know, pictures, memories, stories, community source, milestones, are they still able to do that? And if so, how can we do that?
Speaker 2: (07:02)
This exhibition is very different for us. One, it is primarily community sourced, but two, it doesn't have an end date. So if folks go on our website, San Diego history.org, um, and if they go to, uh, current exhibitions and then they click on celebrate, there are forms there where they can share their story, upload their photo and history is very personal and people want their history heard. They want it share, and they wanted archive.
Speaker 1: (07:40)
I've been speaking with Shelby Gordon, who is the marketing manager at the San Diego history center. Shelby, thank you so much for sharing and joining us today.
Speaker 2: (07:49)
Thank you. My pleasure.
Speaker 1: (07:51)
You can check out, celebrate San Diego, black history and heritage at Balboa park and virtually online for details. Go to K P B s.org.
The San Diego History Center's exhibition, Celebrate San Diego: Black History & Heritage showcases the rich history of Black San Diego with community sourced fine art, Black heroes and a historical timeline.
"The exhibition really gives you a tangible, visual, graphic understanding of how complex, how deep, how interesting and how elevating the history of Black San Diego is," said Shelby Gordon, the marketing manager at the San Diego History Museum.
From photos and the stories told to fine art, many of the pieces showcased in the exhibit were items donated from the community that will be archived for future generations to see.
Gordon joined Midday Edition to talk about the exhibit and how people can contribute to the archive.