African Americans, Women and Beach Culture in the News!
Mary aka Surf Sista

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

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.

 

Nick Gabaldón portrait painted by Richard Wyatt, a Los Angeles artist known for his many history-based public art projects. Wyatt was asked to paint this inspired artwork as commission from native Angeleno and retired surfer Rick Blocker of BlackSurfing.com. (click to enlarge)

Nick Gabaldón portrait painted by Richard Wyatt, a Los Angeles artist known for his many history-based public art projects. Wyatt was asked to paint this inspired artwork as commission from native Angeleno and retired surfer Rick Blocker of BlackSurfing.com. (click to enlarge)

 

Finally, over the last year in my work to spread knowledge of African American heritage at Los Angeles County beaches I wrote several articles. One article I wrote, “Nick Gabaldón (1927-1951) : A Southern California Surfing Pioneer”  was published by the UltimateHistoryProject.com. This history website has big ambitions to gain a national and international audience. The article is a more expanded piece on Gabaldón and civil rights than what has been written about him before.

Some of the other new articles I wrote this past year for the Los Angeles Historical Society Newsletter, the 2014 Nappywood L.A. Natural Hair Care Expo event program, Santa Monica Pier Paddleboard Race an Ocean Festival 2013 Event Guide and others can be found on the Publications page.

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Mary aka Surf Sista