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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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At Pilgrim School: 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 kid! Photography by Carmen Wolf. (Click to enlarge)

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: 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)

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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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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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)

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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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)

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]

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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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Wonderful day you and [all] planned. My daughter Asha has repeated the Nick story over and over to friends and family.

-Louis Emile
Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor
Santa Monica, California, Email/6 June 2013


Heard about you guys on NPR. Shout out from Jacksonville, Florida!

-Daniel Beulah
Comments on the Black Surfers Collective Facebook page/3 June 2013

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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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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.

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