Claremont, Calif. (March 14, 2007) – Pitzer College is hosting a unique conference that will reveal important contributions made by African Americans to the history and development of the Los Angeles region. Often overlooked, African Americans in Los Angeles were influential in the civic, cultural and economic progress of the second largest metropolis in America. Taking place Wednesday, April 4, 2007, the daylong event brings together distinguished scholars and community leaders to explore this little known history and its importance.
“The study of black life in America is essential to every American understanding the roots of his or her identity as an American. The excavation of the African American past in Los Angeles is critical to understanding the development and history of that unique place,” said Visiting Professor at Pitzer College Susan Anderson, who chairs the conference. “This gathering is a model for investigating the past of any part of America. We welcome everyone’s participation,” Chair of The Claremont Colleges Intercollegiate Department of Black Studies Halford Fairchild added.
The conference program includes an array of distinguished speakers and panelists from the Historic Resources Group, the Huntington Library, the City of Los Angeles, the California African American Museum, and Eighth and Wall, Inc. Other conference participants include professors from The Claremont Colleges, the University of California, Riverside, and the University of California, San Diego.. Best-selling author and creator of the Easy Rawlins series of detective novels Walter Mosley will deliver a public lecture in a related program.
Just a few of the remarkable facts about African Americans achievements in Los Angeles: The oldest building in continuous use in the city of Santa Monica is the 100-year-old Colored Methodist Episcopal Phillips Chapel; twenty-six of the forty-four pobladores who founded the pueblo now known as Los Angeles were of African descent; the creator of peace-keeping at the United Nations and the first African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize is from Los Angeles; and the only newspaper published by a woman west of the Mississippi for more than forty years was the California Eagle.
The conference is free and open to the public. Visit the event’s Web page at www.pitzer.edu/buriedtreasure. For more event information, contact Sonya Young at (909) 607-3070 or Sonya_young@pitzer.edu.
Pitzer College is a nationally top ranked undergraduate college of the liberal arts and sciences. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility and community involvement.
Beyond its interdisciplinary curriculum, the Intercollegiate Department of Black Studies (IDBS) contributes to the intellectual and cultural life of The Claremont Colleges through its yearly programs. Previous programs have been devoted to such topics as African American art, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, religion, women, Pan-Africanism, Haiti, and the African American family. Among the distinguished guests who have participated in past programs are Alice Walker, Derek Walcott, Houston Baker, bell hooks, Cornell West, Na’im Akbar, Julius Nyerere, Wade Nobles, Gloria Wade-Gayles, and other prominent writers and scholars.
Established in 1969, the Intercollegiate Department of Black Studies offers a rich program of multidisciplinary teaching and scholarship to all students at The Claremont Colleges. Its mission is to examine through various academic disciplines the experiences of people of African heritage worldwide.