Profile: Alison Rose Jefferson, Ph.D.
Presently my research and professional interest revolves around the intersection of historical memory, American history, the history of the African American experience in Southern California during the twentieth century great migration and Jim Crow era, heritage conservation, spatial justice and cultural tourism. I am also interested in the experiences of people of African descent in other global settings.
Along with other work activities utilizing my knowledge and skills expertise, I am preparing the book manuscript with the working title of Leisure’s Race, Power and Place in Los Angeles and California Dreams in the Jim Crow Era for publication with University of Nebraska Press. This study examines how African Americans pioneered leisure in American’s “frontier of leisure” through their attempts to create communities and business projects, in conjunction with the growing African American population of Southern California during the nation’s Jim Crow era. The places I examines illustrate a range of kinds of leisure production purposes and societal encounters. Through struggle over them, African Americans helped define the practice and meaning of leisure for the region and the nation, confronted the emergent power politics of leisure space, and set the stage for the sites as places for remembrance of invention and public contest. My research extends the narrative of the African American experience in American historical writings and memory of California, and the U.S. in general by expanding the examination of the struggle for leisure and public space for all Americans within long civil rights movement.
I have participated in numerous public programs, including history public engagement event programming, lectures, museum exhibitions, oral history interview research, the creation of commemorative monuments, landmark site designations and documentary films. I was recently honored with the Santa Monica Conservancy’s rare and prestigious James G. Cameron Award for my many significant contributions to the understanding of African American history in Santa Monica and the southern California region. My work as a historian has recently been featured in an interview on KCET’s “Lost LA” television show and articles on TheAfricanChannel.com and in the Los Angeles Times.
In 2015, I earned my doctorate in History at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). I earned a Master’s degree in Heritage Conservation in 2007 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Pomona College in Claremont, California. Before beginning my doctoral studies in 2009, I worked as a historian/heritage conservation consultant at Historic Resources Group in Los Angeles. Prior to returning to school to earn my master’s degree, I worked as a marketing and public relations consultant for a community improvement district in downtown Los Angeles, the Figueroa Corridor Partnership (FCP). Earlier in my professional life, I was employed in marketing, research, and administrative capacities at several entertainment companies, and in the equity investment industry.