Fighting to relax: Jim Crow on the Beach

September 27th 3pm
The fight to relax and surf on beaches with details of Black success, achievement and legacy in this little known area of US Civil Rights

Professor Alison Rose Jefferson is author of ‘Living the California Dream African American Leisure Sites in the Jim Crow era’ .The book examines how African Americans pioneered leisure in the USA “frontier of leisure” through their attempts to create communities and business projects, in conjunction with the growing African American population of Southern California during widespread racial discrimination. The places Jefferson’s examines illustrate a range of recreation and relaxation production purposes and societal encounters at beach and inland locations.

Through struggle African Americans helped define the practice and meaning of leisure for the region and the nation, confronted the emergent power politics of leisure space. In this online talk Professor Jefferson will cover:

  • The 1930s Black surfer who made surfing cool
  • The power of the Black middle class, Black hotels, white beaches
  • Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Louis Armstrong, Langston Hughes and Joe Louis
  • Swimming and segregation, Los Angeles hidden history
  • Black leisure as resistance
  • Access to sea and health
  • Hawaii, original surfers and cultural appropriation: The Beach Boys
  • How do you gentrify a beach ?
  • The Black Surfing Collective

This is a zoom online lecture. link will be sent one hour before start

Watch out for Black History Walks new book ‘Black History Walks in London, Volume 1 published by Jacaranda Books in October 2020

Other coming events:

  • African Animation Ancient to modern
  • Caribbean (In)Visibility on British TV
  • Planet of the Apes Movie Breakdown: real and imagined history
  • HAPI online premiere of new film on ancient civilisations and economic empowerment
  • Titian, Sex, Race and Murder
  • Race Riots and the Black British Intelligentsia
  • Inter-generational trauma in the age of Coronavirus: Haiti and Louisiana
  • Hip Hop to Opera via Negro Spirituals
  • Image of the Black in the National Gallery
  • Rembrandt’s Blacks
  • Beyond Nollywood, new Nigerian cinema

About the Speaker: Professor Alison Rose Jefferson

Alison Rose Jefferson is a third generation Californian. Presently her research and professional interest revolve 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. She is also interested in her work’s intersections with the experiences of people of African descent in other global settings.

Her applied history project work and book, Living the California Dream…, were honored with the 2020 Miriam Matthews Ethnic History Award by the Los Angeles City Historical Society for its exceptional contributions to the greater understanding and awareness of Los Angeles history. Jefferson has participated in numerous public programs, including ongoing history public engagement events, lectures, museum exhibitions, oral history interview research, the creation of commemorative monuments, landmark site designations and documentary films.

She and Michael Blum of Sea of Clouds were honored with the 2020 Cultural Landscape Award from the Santa Monica Conservancy for the accomplishment of getting the Bay Street Beach Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is the first historic district in Santa Monica to receive this national honor. The Conservancy also honored Jefferson with the rare and prestigious 2017 James G. Cameron Award for her many significant contributions to the understanding of African American history in Santa Monica and the Southern California region.

Her work as a historian has been featured in KCET (public TV) programming, including interviews on “Lost LA” television show in the 2019 episode, “Griffith Park: The Untold Story,” and the 2018 Emmy Award winning, “Coded Geographies” about The Green Book, The Negro Motorist Travel Guide

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