History Center visits San Diego legend Nathan Harrison.

Most of the museums in Balboa Park have reopened now that the COVID-19 pandemic is subsiding. Yesterday I visited the San Diego History Center and enjoyed viewing one of their current exhibits.

Born a Slave, Died a San Diego Legend concerns freed slave Nathan Harrison, who lived in a small cabin on Palomar Mountain in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Perhaps you’ve driven up to Palomar Mountain State Park and the world-famous Palomar Observatory via Nate Harrison Road. The road is named in honor of this legendary homesteader who provided water and stories to tourists who made the precipitous trek to the mountain top. Nathan Harrison was once the most photographed person in San Diego!

Born a Slave, Died a San Diego Legend shows what it would have been like to journey up to Harrison’s cabin on Palomar Mountain. It also examines what San Diego State University archaeologists have discovered about his life and interactions with his visitors, who offered him gifts of all types. To learn more about the Department of Anthropology’s fascinating Nathan “Nate” Harrison Historical Archaeology Project, click here.

One interesting thing I learned was that Harrison had a sister-in-law named Ramona Wolf. She was the namesake for Helen Hunt Jackson’s novel Ramona, one of the most popular American novels ever written. (You might recall that, to draw tourists and increase the number of riders on his San Diego Electric Railway, entrepreneur and philanthropist John D. Spreckels once claimed the dilapidated Casa de Estudillo in Old Town was the marriage place of the novel’s character Ramona, and thereby preserved an historic building.)

Nathan Harrison’s life is an integral part of San Diego history. His story spans the Antebellum South, the California Gold Rush and Wild West, and the early part of the 20th century.

His many personal adventures, his independent life on a mountain, and his friendship inspired countless San Diegans. When you visit the exhibit at the San Diego History Center, you will also be inspired at how, in his own unique way, a freed slave achieved the American Dream.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Waldorf School students paint mural in City Heights!

High school students attending The Waldorf School of San Diego were painting a large, colorful mural in City Heights today!

I swung by the corner of University Avenue and Wilson Avenue this afternoon to see how their public art project is progressing.

The Waldorf School has teamed up with the organization Love City Heights to spread culture and beauty and positive messages in this east San Diego community! I’m told more murals might be forthcoming!

This particular mural was designed by members of the school’s Social Justice Club.

The inspiration is American author Audre Lorde. According to Wikipedia: “As a poet she is best known for technical mastery and emotional expression, as well as her poems that express anger and outrage at civil and social injustices she observed throughout her life. Her poems and prose largely deal with issues related to civil rights, feminism, lesbianism, illness and disability, and the exploration of black female identity…”

I observed that lots of students have participated in creating the mural.

Each hand, holding a paintbrush, has spread human kindness.

UPDATE!

I checked out the completed mural a couple days later!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Two colorful murals on 43rd Street.

I spotted these two very colorful murals while walking down 43rd Street in southeast San Diego. Both contain symbolic elements.

The first, combining Aztec imagery with humor, I saw at 43rd Wash & Wax…

The second mural I discovered at the corner of 43rd Street and Boston Avenue. It includes an image of President Obama paired with what I believe is the Egyptian god Horus as a royal falcon…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Rosa Parks and the Quiet Strength bus stop.

One bus stop at San Diego Mesa College is extraordinary. It’s a place where the quiet strength of Rosa Parks is remembered and celebrated.

When you do the right thing, but many are against you, it requires strength. That’s what Rosa Parks had back in 1955, when she refused to give up her front seat on a segregated Montgomery, Alabama city bus.

This special MTS bus stop at Mesa College, referred to as the Rosa Parks Transit Center, features signs that describe the history of civil rights activist Rosa Parks and her visits to the school in the 1990’s. It also includes a graceful bench to one side, with the words QUIET STRENGTH.

The Rosa Parks Memorial Project was finished in 2010. Passengers waiting for the bus here are encouraged to reflect. Perhaps they will realize that they, too, are part of history.

Rosa Parks visited San Diego Mesa College in 1992, 1993 and 1995.
Rosa Parks’ act of quiet courage mobilized the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th Century.
QUIET STRENGTH

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Memories on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

It’s a special day to remember the wisdom of one who knew that love is always greater than hatred.

Over the years, I’ve taken photographs of events and works of public art inspired by America’s great civil rights leader. I thought I’d share some of these optimistic images.

It’s always a good time to be reminded of our common humanity.

To see many past photographs concerning Martin Luther King, Jr., click the following links:

Optimism and love at the big MLK Parade!

Quotes on the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.

Sign language Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

Shedding the Cloak sculpture inspired by MLK.

Breaking the Chains on MLK Promenade.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Mural in Imperial Beach speaks against racism.

The other day I spotted this mural on the side of a State Farm office at Palm Avenue and Florence Street in Imperial Beach. It was painted recently by artist Milan Elise Finnie.

Its symbolism makes a statement about diversity in Imperial Beach, and how racism is never acceptable. The mural features the face of Gianna Floyd, daughter of George Floyd.

On the rear of the building, there are hand prints of many colors.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Let’s Live, Let’s Love in Lincoln Park!

Lots of fantastic street art can be enjoyed in San Diego’s Lincoln Park community. On Saturday I walked along Imperial Avenue between Euclid Avenue and 49th Street and took photos of colorful artwork painted by many artists.

I saw faded old art and brand new art. All of it contains positive imagery, summed up by the message Let’s Live, Let’s Love. That saying was painted in several places.

As you can see from the photos, there are a variety of artist signatures.

I believe some of the newer street art was created by the Southeast Art Team. (I posted photos of two wonderful murals they recently painted near Imperial and Euclid here.)

The murals showing African American civil rights icons painted on two low walls by Gentry’s Beauty and Barber Headquarters I believe were created in 2016 by William Salas.

The blue painting of people rowing a boat under stars at Imperial Ave Auto Service is by Michael Rosenblatt. When I saw it, I immediately recalled how he showed me a super cool painting of Tony Gwynn during a past Earth Day event in Balboa Park. You can see that (and more) here.

The big fun mural near the end of my photos can be seen at the Community Gathering Place community garden.

Lincoln Park is fortunate to be touched by the hands of many talented creative people–artists who have a hopeful vision of the world, filled with heart. Who encourage us all with the simple but powerful words: Let’s Live, Let’s Love.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Optimism and love at the big MLK Parade!

The big 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade was held this afternoon along San Diego’s beautiful Embarcadero. So many faces were radiant with optimism and love.

Isn’t that the way our world should be?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Cultural diversity in San Diego’s history.

The 250th Anniversary of San Diego is being celebrated this year.

In 1769 a Spanish expedition established El Presidio Reál de San Diego atop a hill near the San Diego River, along with the original Mission San Diego de Alcalá.

San Diego, however, didn’t become a city of any real significance until the late 19th century.

For a city that is relatively young, San Diego today enjoys remarkable cultural diversity. Much of this diversity is due to our close ties and overlapping history with Mexico. Much also comes from the variety of immigrants who have settled in and helped to build our growing city.

In the past, Cool San Diego Sights has featured many posts about cultural diversity in San Diego’s history.

Here are some links that you can explore…

A new flag is raised for San Diego’s 250th Anniversary!

Exhibit shows Kumeyaay history in the South Bay.

Festival recreates landing of explorer Cabrillo.

San Diego’s early history at the Serra Museum.

San Diego history in Old Town’s McCoy House.

History at the Los Peñasquitos adobe ranch house.

Days of the Vaqueros in Old Town San Diego!

Gravestones tell stories of early San Diego history.

Photos inside the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum.

Local history excavated, displayed at Petco Park.

Historical exhibit at Women’s Museum of California.

African-Americans helped to build San Diego.

Culture and history celebrated at Festa in San Diego!

Mural in Cesar Chavez Park depicts local history.

A look inside the Portuguese Historical Center.

San Diego history: World War II and the Tuna Fleet.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Black life and civil rights in Southern California.

Barbershop, Los Angeles, 1956, Harry Adams. Photographer Harry Adams stands with a young woman in front of his barbershop.
Barbershop, Los Angeles, 1956, Harry Adams. Photographer Harry Adams stands with a young woman in front of his barbershop.

A powerful exhibition recently opened at the San Diego Museum of Art. Black Life: Images of Resistance and Resilience in Southern California features photographs of politicians, activists, athletes and entertainers from the African American community during the second half of the 20th century, a period of struggle to advance civil rights.

Photographers Harry Adams, Guy Crowder and Charles Williams, who worked primarily as freelancers for publications like the Los Angeles Sentinel, California Eagle and Los Angeles Times, recorded people and moments in a community that was rarely covered by the American media. Their photography is natural, emotional and absolutely authentic. As you will see, many of their images are iconic.

Black Life: Images of Resistance and Resilience in Southern California documents important history in the life of our region. The exhibition can be viewed in the San Diego Museum of Art’s free Gallery 14/15, which is located through an unlocked door beside the outdoor sculpture court and Panama 66.

What you see here is just a small fraction of the many photographs on display.

Child Holding Book, Los Angeles, 1983, Guy Crowder.
Child Holding Book, Los Angeles, 1983, Guy Crowder.

Muhammad Ali and Stokely Carmichael, Los Angeles, 1974, Guy Crowder. Carmichael is known for coining the term Black Power in 1966.
Muhammad Ali and Stokely Carmichael, Los Angeles, 1974, Guy Crowder. Carmichael is known for coining the term Black Power in 1966.

Marrie Burnett, Los Angeles, 1982, Guy Crowder.
Marrie Burnett, Los Angeles, 1982, Guy Crowder.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Second Baptist Church, Los Angeles, 1958, Harry Adams.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Second Baptist Church, Los Angeles, 1958, Harry Adams.

Baldwin School Integration, Los Angeles, 1962, Charles Williams. The NAACP campaigned to promote school integration.
Baldwin School Integration, Los Angeles, 1962, Charles Williams. The NAACP campaigned to promote school integration.

Protest Car, Los Angeles, 1962, Harry Adams.
Protest Car, Los Angeles, 1962, Harry Adams.

Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge, stars of Carmen Jones, 1954, Charles Williams.
Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge, stars of Carmen Jones, 1954, Charles Williams.

Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, Los Angeles, 1969, Guy Crowder.
Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, Los Angeles, 1969, Guy Crowder.

Dream Girls Cast, Los Angeles, 1983, Guy Crowder.
Dream Girls Cast, Los Angeles, 1983, Guy Crowder.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!