There are a few new activities that have occurred over the last few months of 2015 that I wanted to share with my community of interest. This means folks like you, whom I share information with from time to time.
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To kick off the summer beach season, I was asked to write an article in The Argonaut newspaper on the history of the Jim Crow era, African American beach site in Santa Monica. Fortunately I was able to include a promo for Nick Gabaldón Day 2015, Saturday, May 30 towards the end of the article.
At the May 30 event the Black Surfers Collective, the Surf Bus Foundation, Los Angeles County 3rd District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Heal The Bay, the Santa Monica Conservancy, Body Glove, Los Angeles County Lifeguards and the City of Santa Monica offered a day of surf lessons, beach exploration, history lessons and more for young and old to commemorate the life of Nick Gabaldón (1927–1951) and other African American pioneers. After you read the Argonaut article, for more info on the event, go to BlackSurfersCollective.org.
If you missed the May 30 event, the BSC will offer free surfing lessons and family fun at Pan African Beach Days the second Sunday of the month–July 12, August 9, September 13 and October 11–at Santa Monica beach near Tower 29. Go to the Black Surfers Collective website for details. Hope to see you there.
Innovative programming to inspire, engage and empower youth to help build personal experiences with natural, cultural and historical heritage that are the foundation of stewardship, and the development of the next generation of engaged citizens. Middle school boys mentored by Concerned Black Men Cares, LA have a fulfilling day at the beach learning about history and ocean stewardship, and how to surf at Nick Gabaldon Day 2014 at the historic Inkwell at Bay Street in Santa Monica. Maurice Bunton, the group’s program manager said recently, “the young men mentioned this event as their favorite of last year. When the thought of participating in Nick Gabaldon Day 2015 was discussed, the boys nearly went through the roof with excitement. The boys were really wowed with the black history made real at the event last year, and their excitement to participate again this year went through the roof.” Photograph by Maurice Bunton, Program Manager, Concerned Black Men Cares, LA.
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Woman surfers strutted their stuff for Women’s International Surfing Month (May 2015)! The Wahine Project developed a beautiful poster to remind folks to check out the stories of women who surf. For more information on the organization’s efforts and programs, check here.
To celebrate the California African American experience in the California Dream, and to raise money for the Los Angeles County Junior Lifeguard Program, the Black Surfing Association, Malibu Surfing Association and other groups held the first Nick Gabaldón Charity Paddlethon on Saturday, February 28, 2015. The groups putting on the event raised a nice chunk of change to help the youth towards developing today, and into the future.
Hanging out on the sand at Santa Monica’s historic Bay Steet/Inkwell beach the 2015 Nick Gabaldon Memorial Paddlethon, Saturday, February 28, 2015.
L to R: Bill Kalmenson, Malcolm Carson and Alison Rose Jefferson.
It was a nice, but windy day at Santa Monica’s Bay Street, Jim Crow era African American beach site, formerly known as “Inkwell.” I was honored to be a participant in this new programming.
Fun was had by the paddlers in the ocean contest, observers on the sand and by all at lunch at Rusty’s Surf Ranch Restaurant on Santa Monica Pier. Some new friends were made, and reacquaintance occurred with some others. Live music at Rusty’s included the soulful acoustic Donny Wonderful and friends, and the reggae band, Pacific Coast High.
See the short film that Malibu Under Dogs made of different segments of the day’s program on the beach and at Rusty’s on Santa Monica Pier. Featured in the film are: Alison Rose Jefferson, Remy Smith, Allen Sarlo, Barry Roach, Tony Corley, John Hinkle, Rube Escalante, Jean Pierre Pereat, The Malibu Under Dogs and Nick Gabaldón.
Posted in Events, History, Inkwell, Nick Gabaldon, Santa Monica Beach | Tagged black surfers collective, black surfing association, concerned black men cares la, heal the bay, inkwell, malibu surfing association, nick gabaldon, santa monica beach, santa monica conservancy, the wahine project | Leave a Comment »
I have the honor of being the keynote speaker at the Santa Monica Conservancy’s Annual Meeting and Preservation Awards program on February 8. I will discuss the layered Santa Monica history of the meeting’s location at Casa Del Mar Hotel, once a historical, Jim Crow era leisure space of African Americans sometimes known as the Inkwell. I hope to see you at the meeting, and please feel free to pass this information on. See announcement below.
Santa Monica Conservancy’s Annual Meeting and Preservation Awards
Sunday, February 8th, noon to 2 pm
At the Historic Hotel Casa Del Mar
1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica, CA 90405
We are pleased to invite you to our 2015 Annual Meeting and Preservation Awards, hosted by Hotel Casa Del Mar. In addition to presentation of the Preservation Awards, we will review the Conservancy’s successes in 2014 including an update on the Preservation Resource Center at the rehabilitated Shotgun House, and the election of the Board of Directors. Refreshments will include passed hors d’oeuvres and a no-host bar.
Photos from the Los Angeles Public Library collection taken at the “Inkwell”, left: ca 1920, center: ca 1924. Photo on right: Nick Gabaldon Day, June 1, 2013, Black Surfers Collective. (click to enlarge)
Our speaker will be historian Alison Rose Jefferson, who will discuss inclusiveness in cultural heritage conservation and interpretation in a talk on Diversity, Real Estate, and Remembrance in Santa Monica. She will describe her research and some innovative programming efforts at the “Inkwell,” the historical Jim Crow era, African-American beach site adjacent to the Casa del Mar which remained an important gathering place long after racial restriction attempts at public beaches were abandoned in 1927.
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Posted in Events, heritage conservation, historic preservation, History, Inkwell, Nick Gabaldon, Santa Monica Beach | Tagged february 2015, heritage conservation, historic conservation, inkwell, keynote speaker, nick gabaldon, santa monica, santa monica beach, santa monica conservancy | Leave a Comment »
Saturday, September 20, 2014 • 9:00 A.M.–Noon
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Join Heal the Bay, Santa Monica College, the Santa Monica Conservancy, the Black Surfers Collective, the California Historical Society, Los Angeles Black Underwater Explorers and other local organizations in the annual cleanup at the historical African American beach/Inkwell Monument site in Santa Monica, California.
Santa Monica Beach at Bay Street, near Lifeguard Tower 20
Parking Lot 4 South, Enter at Bicknell Street
At this site we celebrate our collective love of the ocean and our layered community history through Coastal Cleanup Day site in Santa Monica. Volunteers will be educated about the history and environmental concerns of this site.
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Posted in Events, heritage conservation, historic preservation, Inkwell, Nick Gabaldon, Santa Monica Beach | Tagged black surfers collective, california coastal cleanup, california historical society, coastal cleanup day, heal the bay, inkwell, los angeles black underwater explorers, santa monica, santa monica beach, santa monica conservancy, september 2014 | Leave a Comment »
My title of this article plays off an article title by Brentin Mock, the justice editor for Grist.com. He offers some really thought provoking commentaries on a variety of issues around the natural and cultural environment. Mock has written several enlightening articles this year on the lack of diversity in the various mainstream Green movements, and on the work by different African Americans and other overlooked and marginalized Americans working in the field.
From Mock I learned about a report particularly worth reading for anyone interested in outdoor activities and the Green movements, that included a discussion on diversity in these industry’s employment practices called “The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations”. The report was produced by the group called Green 2.0, led by one of the leaders in environmental and race issues discussion, Dorceta Taylor.
Green 2.0: Accelerating Diversity in the Mainstream Environmental Movement (click to link)
Mock’s articles and Carolyn Finney’s new book, Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimaging the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors discussing environmental justice issues are inspiring me in my own work as a public historian and heritage conservation consultant.
The state of heritage conservation/historic preservation could also use more diversity in the representation of American expressions of cultural identity and pride. The spring 2014 issue of the Forum Journal, a National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) publication, looks at how some of the current American preservation practices could be improved to tell a broader range of American stories.
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Posted in heritage conservation, historic preservation, History, Intangible Heritage | Tagged african americans, beach, brentin mock, carolyn finney, diversity, dorceta taylor, environment, environmental justice, forum journal spring 2014, green 2.0, national parks in america, national trust for historic preservation, september 2014, tanya bowers | Leave a Comment »
Over the last few months several articles appeared about African Americans’ and women’s history of enjoying the beach culture of California. First up, Ryan Reft’s three articles written for KCET’s online, Departures Columns Intersections commentary on Southern California beach culture, race and gender. Reft’s articles are an outgrowth of his viewing the documentary film, “White Wash” at the Organization of American Historians meeting in Atlanta, Georgia (April 10-13, 2014,) and hearing a panel session after the documentary featuring the film’s director Ted Woods, and historians, Prof. Krista Comer (Rice University), Prof. Michael Willard (California State University, Los Angeles) and doctoral candidate Alison Rose Jefferson (University of California, Santa Barbara).
Reft’s articles discuss a short history of women and African Americans in surfing, and the historical African American beach sites in California’s Manhattan Beach (Bruce’s Beach) and Santa Monica (Bay Street/Inkwell).
Riding Waves, Forging Communities: Surfing, Gender, and Feminism in 20th Century California, May 30, 2014
Fighting for Leisure: African Americans, Beaches, Civil Rights in Early 20th Century L.A., May 16, 2014
Surfing for Freedom: Black Surfers and Reclaiming Cultural History in Los Angeles, April 24, 2014
Mary aka Surf Sista on one of her long boards enjoying the waves. Photograph by Mike Avalon. (click to enlarge)
Check out the nice profile with great photographs, written about Mary Mills aka Surf Sista, a fabulous Black Angeleno resident and member of the Black surfer coalition groups, who loves the beach and began surfing when she was in her forties! Candace Stalder of Stalderart.com wrote “Surf Sista Goes Ricta~!” for DROPZONEla.com.
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Posted in Bruce's Beach, heritage conservation, historic preservation, History, Inkwell, Intangible Heritage, Manhattan Beach, Nick Gabaldon, Santa Monica Beach, White Wash | Tagged african americans, beach, candace stalder, krista comer, manhattan beach, mary miles, michael willard, ryan reft, santa monica, santa monica beach, september 2014, surf sista, ted woods | Leave a Comment »
Nick Gabaldón Day 2014 celebration at the historical African American beach site, “the Inkwell” in Santa Monica, California. Photography by Damien Baskette from the Black Surfers Collective Facebook page. (click to enlarge)
The sun was out and the surf was up for the Saturday, June 14, 2014 day of celebration around the pioneering African American and Mexican surfer Nick Gabaldón (1927-1951) and others that have come before us. Many youth, and a few adults, from the Los Angeles County region learning (or least tried) to stand on surfboards for the first time. All attending learned about local history, ocean stewardship and marine biology.
Youngsters learn about the history of the event site at the Bay Street/Inkwell historic site from historian Alison Rose Jefferson and the banner exhibit entitled, “Hidden Beach Stories & the California Dream: African Americans, Beach Culture, Santa Monica & the American Narrative” at Nick Gabaldón Day 2014. Bay Street/Inkwell historic site, Santa Monica, California. Photography by Damien Baskette from the Black Surfers Collective Facebook page. (click to enlarge)
Young people from the Challengers Boys & Girls Club and the Concerned Black Men mentoring programs of Los Angeles took their turn at learning to surf with volunteer instructors from the Black Surfers Collective and Surf Bus Foundation at the Bay Street beach sometimes referred to as the “Inkwell. This site at the end of Bay Street was a gathering place of African Americans during the nation’s Jim Crow era when racial restrictions on many areas of life sometimes occurred, even on some recreational public spaces.
Jeff Williams of the BSC and Marion Clark of Surf Bus Foundation/Surf Academy lead the surfing lessons. Meredith McCarthy headed up Heal the Bay’s teaching about ocean life at the shoreline. Also check out Meredith’s blog post about the event entitled, “Lessons From L.A. Beaches’ Checkered Past.” Santa Monica Conservancy volunteers Alison Rose Jefferson, Thomasine Rogas, Leslie Lambert and Carol Lemlein acted as docents, giving people information about the significance of Nick Gabaldón and the Inkwell site to regional and national history.
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Posted in BlackPast.org, Events, heritage conservation, historic preservation, History, Inkwell, Intangible Heritage, Nick Gabaldon, Santa Monica Beach | Tagged african americans, association for surfing professionals, beach, black surfers collective, marion clark, meredith mccarthy, nick gabaldon, santa monica beach, santa monica conservancy, santa monica pier aquarium, september 2014, surf academy, surf bus foundation | Leave a Comment »
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Dr. Ned Kaufman will do an evening public lecture entitled “Extraordinary Prizes in Ordinary Places: How Preserving Everyday Things Can Save People and the Planet” on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 7.00pm at University of Southern California’s (USC) Pierre Koenig Lecture Hall/School of Architecture.
In his USC evening presentation Dr. Kaufman will discuss the general themes of rethinking the economics of heritage and historic preservation as a tool for achieving social justice, and how the field is forging new interdisciplinary alliances with public history, folklore, community planning and tourism promotion. Reception to follow.
Also on March 11, Dr. Kaufman will do a lunchtime program for graduate students, faculty, administrators and other interested parties at USC’s History Department Conference Room/SOS Room 250 from 12.00–1.30pm. He will talk about his current research around historic conservation, social justice, intangible resources, sustainability and the economics of heritage. He will also discuss his career inside and outside of academia. As more Ph.D.’s are seeking alternative careers, by choice and by necessity, Dr. Kaufman’s academic and non-academic career offers an example of a path of intellectually challenging and worthwhile work as a consultant, a public historian and a professor. A light lunch will be served at the session.
Admission is free to both USC programs. For more information contact me, Alison Rose Jefferson via this website.
Dr. Kaufman’s work is at the vanguard of historic preservation thought and activism. His scholarship, teaching and practice confront outmoded conventions and inspire us to question traditional methodologies for saving and interpreting historic sites. His scholarship reminds us why we must continue asking “why” we are preserving a site, challenging use to look beyond the analysis of beautiful buildings and materials conservation to connect with places through our shared life stories.
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Posted in Events, heritage conservation, historic preservation, History, Intangible Heritage | Tagged february 2014, ned kaufman | Leave a Comment »
At Pilgrim School’s BHM Assembly after the screening program of 12 Miles North: The Nick Gabaldón Story (l to r): Remy Smith, Alison Rose Jefferson, Richard Yelland and Marcus Chatman with the Pilgrim student who recently had the opportunity to surf at Hawaii’s legendary North Shore! Eat your heart out guys and gals, and give a shot out to the fabulous, adventurous little guy! Photography by Carmen Wolf. (Click to enlarge)
February 6th, 2014 –– A screening of the documentary, “12 Miles North: The Nick Gabaldón Story” kicked off Black History Month at Pilgrim School in Los Angeles. Carmen Wolf has organized a whole month of activities to teach the kids at her son’s school about some of their overlooked heritage as Americans.
During Pilgrim School BHM Assembly during the Q&A after the screening of 12 Miles North: The Nick Gabaldón Story: Carmen Wolf (standing far left), parent organizer of the BHM programming; Alison Rose Jefferson (standing); Richard Yelland; Remy Smith; Marcus Chatman; and the kids of Pilgrim School! Photography by Wesley Michael Groves. (Click to enlarge)
Following the film was a Q&A with filmmaker Richard Yelland, joined by featured historian Alison Rose Jefferson and Los Angeles County Lifeguard Captain and surfer Remy Smith. LA County Sheriff and surfer Marcus Chatman, who is also a lifeguard and aquatics educator, joined the conversation with the kids. This event was for secondary students, parents, staff and faculty. Wesley Michael Groves, a newbie surfer and parent of children at Pilgrim and other parents were in the house.
See the flier (below) for the other cool programs, Carmen arranged for the kids. Please share with your friends who have children attending Pilgrim School (Wilshire Center, Los Angeles, 90020).
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Posted in Events, History, Intangible Heritage, Nick Gabaldon, Santa Monica Beach | Tagged beach, february 2014, film, inkwell, nick gabaldon, remy smith, richard yelland, santa monica, santa monica beach, screenings | Leave a Comment »
I was honored to be a leader in the first ever tour programming in Southern California sponsored by The Cultural Landscape Foundation. Participants explored and discovered two-dozen historical landscapes in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Santa Monica through a series of FREE expert-led tours highlighting the region’s remarkable landscape legacy.
On Sunday, October 27 from 1.00- to 2.30pm I lead a tour entitled Ocean Park Neighborhood Beach: The Significance of the “Inkwell” in Jim Crow Era Southern California. To learn more about my tour click here.
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Posted in heritage conservation, historic preservation, History, Inkwell, Intangible Heritage, Nick Gabaldon, Santa Monica Beach, Uncategorized | Tagged beach, february 2014, inkwell, nick gabaldon, santa monica, santa monica beach, the cultural landscape foundation | Leave a Comment »
The surf image of Los Angeles County Lifeguard and Aquatics Educator Marcus Chatman at El Portal/Manhattan Beach used on this program announcement is featured in the “tower of images” near the end of the new “Becoming Los Angeles” exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County at Exposition Park. (Click to enlarge)
Members of the Black Surfer Collective (BSC) and their compatriots were featured guest speakers and instructors in segments of the Claremont University Consortium (CUC)/Office of Black Student Affairs’ (OBSA) sponsored 2013 New Student Retreat taking place Friday, September 13 thru Sunday, September 15, 2013 in Claremont, Malibu and Santa Monica, California. The programming consisted of a series of activities to support the wellbeing of incoming students of African American descent in their pursuit to earn degrees at the Claremont Colleges.
OBSA administrators selected the retreat’s text for workshops of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom. A Southern California surf image featuring Los Angeles County Lifeguard and Aquatics Educator Marcus Chatman at El Portal in Manhattan Beach was selected as the visual imagery branding the retreat marketing and other materials. These two texts are obviously different, but both engage imagery of freedom, resilience, achievement, identity, strength and bravery in a global context. The weekend programming consisted of expert and peer speakers, historically and culturally relevant curriculum workshops, and activities to aid initiation of the new college students on a path of excellence, career development, personal success, and college connections. Surfing lessons and serious fun were also on the students’ schedule.
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Posted in Events, heritage conservation, historic preservation, History, Inkwell, Intangible Heritage, Nick Gabaldon, Santa Monica Beach, White Wash | Tagged black surfer collective, claremont university consortium, february 2014, heal the bay, inkwell, new student retreat, pomona college, remy smith, santa monica, santa monica beach, screenings, white wash | Leave a Comment »
Looking down the hill towards the beach at Bay Street on Coastal Cleanup Day 2013 at some of the cultural exhibits, volunteers’ registration area, and the “Inkwell” landmark monument just before the almost 700 people show up for a day of education and community action. Saturday, September 21, 2013, Santa Monica, California. Photograph courtesy of Heal the Bay. (Click to enlarge)
The Santa Monica site derogatorily called the “Inkwell” was a popular beach hangout for African Americans from the 1920s to the early 1960s, where they challenged racial hierarchies to enjoy beach public space at the core of California’s mid-twentieth century identity. [View historic site description]
On Coastal Cleanup Day 2013, Saturday, September 21 (CCD 2013) close to 700 people of all ages showed up with good energy for their task of community service to help cleanup the beach. From docents and small exhibits, the day’s volunteers learned about watershed stewardship, sea life and the social history of the Jim Crow era, African American beach site derogatorily called the “Inkwell.”
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Posted in Events, heritage conservation, historic preservation, History, Inkwell, Intangible Heritage, Santa Monica Beach | Tagged california coastal cleanup, coastal cleanup day, february 2014, heal the bay, inkwell, labue, los angeles black underwater explorers, santa monica, santa monica beach, santa monica conservancy | Leave a Comment »
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Wonderful day you and [all] planned. My daughter Asha has repeated the Nick story over and over to friends and family.
Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor
Santa Monica, California, Email/6 June 2013
Heard about you guys on NPR. Shout out from Jacksonville, Florida!
Comments on the Black Surfers Collective Facebook page/3 June 2013
We had a delightful day with several hundred appreciative people visiting the place sometimes referred to as the “Inkwell,” the gathering place of African Americans during the nation’s Jim Crow era of racial restrictions on many areas of life, even on some recreational public space. The day of celebration around the pioneering African American and Mexican surfer Nick Gabaldón (1927-1951) and others that have come before us, included many youth, and a few adults, from the Los Angeles County region learning to stand on surfboards for the first time. All attending learned about local history, ocean stewardship and marine biology.
I and the other members of this year’s Nick Gabaldón Day organizing team are especially appreciative that Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and his staff joined us to support this educational and recreational programming of the Black Surfers Collective (BSC) and Heal the Bay.
Thanks to all the other groups who supported the programming: Surf Bus Foundation, the Santa Monica Conservancy, Clif Bar, BlackSurfing.com, the California Historical Society, the Sierra Club Outdoors, Rusty’s on Santa Monica Pier, the LA County Lifeguards, CYA in California, Santa Monica Co-op, Dan Cobley from DANC Surfboards and Jeffrey Sudzin from Om Surfboards.
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Posted in Events, heritage conservation, historic preservation, History, Inkwell, Intangible Heritage, Nick Gabaldon, Santa Monica Beach, White Wash | Tagged african americans, black surfers collective, california historical society, inkwell, june 2013, mark ridley-thomas, nick gabaldon, richard wyatt, santa monica, santa monica beach, santa monica conservancy, santa monica pier aquarium, screenings, white wash | Leave a Comment »
Nick Gabaldón Day 2013 celebration at the historical African American beach site, “the Inkwell” in Santa Monica, California. Photography by Marie Rachal from the Black Surfers Collective FACEBOOK page.
Check out my commentary on Heal the Bay’s, Around the Bay Blog – “Reclaiming L.A.’s Beaches as Communities of Color.” Here I discuss the layered cultural complexities and significance of surfer Nick Gabaldón and the Jim Crow era, African American Bay Street/Inkwell site in Santa Monica, California to the public processes of historic preservation, nature conservancy and environmental justice movements. I look forward to hearing any thoughts you might have on my commentary.
Posted in Events, heritage conservation, historic preservation, History, Inkwell, Intangible Heritage, Nick Gabaldon, Santa Monica Beach | Tagged beach, black surfers collective, environmental justice, heal the bay, inkwell, june 2013, nick gabaldon, santa monica, santa monica beach | Leave a Comment »
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