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!

Paintings by Kadir Nelson exhibited in San Diego.

So Together, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
So Together, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.

An important exhibition of paintings by acclaimed artist Kadir Nelson is now showing at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

On display is the original artwork used to illustrate the picture book Blue Sky, White Stars, this year’s KPBS One Book, One San Diego for Kids Selection. Young students across our city will be reading the picture book this year, sharing their experience together. The author is Sarvinder Naberhaus.

The book’s original paintings by Kadir Nelson contain iconic American imagery, and often include the patriotic red, white and blue of the American flag. Ideals such as Liberty, Justice and Equality proudly live in the faces of his subjects. His powerful, humane artwork has been compared to that of Norman Rockwell.

Kadir Nelson spent his formative years in San Diego, attending Crawford High School. The exhibition at the San Diego History Center includes a few examples of his early drawings.

As an artist of international stature, Kadir Nelson has produced art for many award-winning books, The New Yorker magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Coca-Cola Company, and Major League Baseball. His work appears on United States Postal Service commemorative stamps and on Michael Jackson’s posthumously released album. His paintings can be found in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, The National Baseball Hall of Fame, and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Visit this exhibition at the San Diego History Center and you’ll quickly see that Kadir Nelson is a truly extraordinary American artist, whose striking images linger in your mind. You’ll also perceive the optimism and heart that gives amazing life to his work.

The Spectacle, 2016, gracing the front cover of Blue Sky, White Stars, was painted by Kadir Nelson.
The Spectacle, 2016, gracing the front cover of Blue Sky, White Stars, was painted by Kadir Nelson.
In a short video at the San Diego History Center, Kadir Nelson talks about his work and inspiration.
In a short video at the San Diego History Center, Kadir Nelson talks about his work and inspiration.
Displayed in the exhibition are seven books featuring the bold, powerfully moving artwork of Kadir Nelson.
Displayed in the exhibition are seven books featuring the bold, powerfully moving artwork of Kadir Nelson.
Eight extraordinary The New Yorker covers with artwork by Kadir Nelson.
Eight extraordinary The New Yorker covers with artwork by Kadir Nelson.
A drawing by Kadir Nelson from his teen years. Crawford Horse Sitting on Mascots, 1991, pen and ink on paper.
A drawing by Kadir Nelson from his teen years. Crawford Horse Sitting on Mascots, 1991, pen and ink on paper.
Pioneers (White Rows), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Pioneers (White Rows), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Sew Together (Betsy Ross), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Sew Together (Betsy Ross), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Well Worn: Abe Lincoln, 2016, Kadir Nelson.
Well Worn: Abe Lincoln, 2016, Kadir Nelson.
We Shall Overcome, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
We Shall Overcome, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Stand Proud (Civil War Soldiers), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Stand Proud (Civil War Soldiers), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Cracker Jacks, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Cracker Jacks, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
The Patriot, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
The Patriot, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.

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!

Afrofuture Art Exhibit at Worldbeat Cultural Center.

Miss Universe, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.
Miss Universe, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.

There’s a cool art exhibition now showing inside the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park. The Afrofuture Art Exhibit features some imaginative and thought-provoking pieces that meld the African American experience with an optimistic view of the future.

One highlight of the exhibition is a series of evocative digital collages that place individuals from the past and present in the cosmos, interacting with the planet Earth and other celestial bodies.

I did my best to capture some good photographs. Head inside the Worldbeat Cultural Center to enjoy much more futuristic African American artwork up close and in person, then walk around inside the re-purposed water tower to enjoy one of the most awesome and colorful event spaces in San Diego!

The Afrofuture Art Exhibit will be on display through Summer 2018 at the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
The Afrofuture Art Exhibit will be on display through Summer 2018 at the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
Uhura from the original Star Trek series depicted in futuristic artwork created by @caegallery.
Uhura from the original Star Trek series depicted in futuristic artwork by Weldon May.
Cool artwork on display at the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
More cool art on display at the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
A female face in the cosmos, by @caegallery.
A futuristic female face beneath stars and a streaking meteorite, by Weldon May.
The past, present and future come alive at the Afrofuture Art Exhibit.
The past, present and future come alive at the Afrofuture Art Exhibit.
Tan Man, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.
Tan Man, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.
Atlas, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.
Atlas, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.

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!

San Diego African American fine art exhibition.

Green Tea. Kadir Nelson, giclée on canvas.
Green Tea. Kadir Nelson, giclée on canvas.

If you love fine art, there’s something you really need to see. Legacy in Black is an exhibition featuring the work of local African American artists who enjoy national and international acclaim. You can enjoy this exhibition for free by visiting the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

A number of outstanding pieces represent the work of eight artists who’ve made significant contributions to our city’s cultural life. Many of the artists have produced public art around San Diego and California. Faith Ringgold has had works exhibited in places like The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Museum of American Art, and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Ernest Eugene Barnes Jr. was the official artist of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Kadir Nelson was the lead conceptual artist for Steven Spielberg’s film Amistad, and his work is often featured on the cover of The New Yorker magazine. All eight artists featured in this exhibition are exceptional.

Legacy in Black is a collaboration between the San Diego History Center and the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art. Head on over to Balboa Park before the exhibition closes on March 28, 2018!

Sandlot Football. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on canvas.
Sandlot Football. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on canvas.
Legacy in Black, an exhibition of work by local African American artists, is now on display at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.
Legacy in Black, an exhibition of work by local African American artists, is now on display at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.
I'll Fly Away. Manuelita Brown, bronze with painted wood base, 2003.
I’ll Fly Away. Manuelita Brown, bronze with painted wood base, 2003.
Coming to Jones Road Part II #5, Precious, Barn Door and Baby Freedom. Faith Ringgold, acrylic on canvas with fabric border, 2010.
Coming to Jones Road Part II #5, Precious, Barn Door and Baby Freedom. Faith Ringgold, acrylic on canvas with fabric border, 2010.
The Valley. Jean Cornwell Wheat, acrylic on canvas, 2014.
The Valley. Jean Cornwell Wheat, acrylic on canvas, 2014.
Gridiron Hero. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on board.
Gridiron Hero. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on board.

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!

Happiness and togetherness at MLK Day Parade.

People gather along Harbor Drive awaiting the start of the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade in San Diego.
People gather together along Harbor Drive and await the start of the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade in San Diego.

San Diego’s 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade started this afternoon at 2 o’clock. I arrived a bit early and made my way onto the tall ship Star of India. Best seat in the house!

What all did I see? Read the photo captions!

Lots of friendship and smiles up and down the street.
Lots of friendship and smiles up and down the street.
Some Navy officers gather near the MLK Day Parade's starting area.
Some Navy officers gather near the MLK Day Parade’s starting area.
The San Diego Padres would be in the parade. They were waiting with some baseball balloons by the Maritime Museum.
The San Diego Padres would be in the parade. They were waiting with some baseball balloons by the Maritime Museum.
One benefit of being a member of the Maritime Museum of San Diego--I could watch the parade from atop one of the world's most famous tall ships--the Star of India!
One benefit of being a member of the Maritime Museum of San Diego–I could freely watch the parade from atop one of the world’s most famous tall ships–the Star of India!
Now I'm looking down from the deck above the historic ship's forecastle. Joe who works at the museum and I had the best view of the parade all to ourselves!
Now I’m looking down from the deck above the historic ship’s forecastle. Joe who works at the museum and I had the best view of the parade all to ourselves!
Look at all the folks gathering for the big MLK Day Parade. Every year, it's one of the most popular parades in San Diego.
Look at all the folks gathering for the big MLK Day Parade. Every year, it’s one of the most popular parades in San Diego.
From the Star of India we overlooked the parade's starting point. Lots of groups were waiting by their vehicles, including these Homeland Security guys posing for a picture.
From the Star of India we overlooked the parade’s starting point. Lots of groups were waiting by their vehicles, including these Homeland Security guys posing for a picture.
I also spotted law enforcement officers from around San Diego and the Border Patrol.
I also spotted law enforcement officers from around San Diego and the Border Patrol.
But the politicians manage to always go first. I spotted Todd Gloria, Toni Atkins, Susan Davis and Shirley Weber.
A pigeon joined us on the tall ship’s rigging.  Funny how the politicians manage to always go first. I spotted Todd Gloria, Toni Atkins, Susan Davis and Shirley Weber.
Tending to the flags.
Tending to the flags.
The parade has begun and here comes the Padres' happy mascot, the Swinging Friar!
The parade has begun and here comes the Padres’ happy mascot, the Swinging Friar!
The Chargers might be history, but San Diego's beloved Padres remain a strong part of our wonderful community.
The Chargers might be history, but San Diego’s beloved Padres remain a strong part of our wonderful community.
I think these guys marching are the San Diego County Sheriffs.
I think those guys marching are the San Diego County Sheriffs.
Oh, goodness! It's the Geico gecko.
Oh, goodness! It’s the Geico gecko.
Fellowship and laughter in one group before beginning down the parade route.
Fellowship and laughter in one group before beginning down the parade route.
From our cool vantage point above the starting point, sometimes the big event seemed like two parades in one!
From our cool vantage point above the starting point, sometimes the big event seemed like two parades in one!
It's a small planet. Perhaps we human-types ought to be nice to one another. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that love overcomes hate.
It’s a small planet. Perhaps we humans ought to be nice to one another. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that love overcomes hate.
I realized my small camera struggles at a distance, so after a bit I said bye to Joe and headed down to Harbor Drive to get closer shots.
I realized my small camera struggles at a distance, so after a bit I said bye to Joe and headed down to Harbor Drive to get closer shots.
Here comes the Saint Peter Grand Lodge!
Here comes the Saint Peter Grand Lodge!
Hello!
Hello!
Here comes a bright yellow float carrying some beauty queens!
Here comes a bright yellow float carrying some beauty queens!
Wow--look at all the color. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade is a happy celebration of human diversity and togetherness.
Wow–look at all the happy people. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade is a joyful celebration of human diversity and togetherness.
Here come some drummers!
Here come some drummers!
I believe these guys are students from UCSD. The County Administration Building rises in the background.
I believe these guys are students from UCSD. The County Administration Building rises in the background.
Lots of colorful costumes and finery representing different backgrounds and cultures. San Diego comes together as one family.
Lots of colorful costumes and finery representing different experiences and cultures. San Diego comes together as one family.
Smiles, happiness and togetherness. May the parade go on and on...
Smiles, happiness and togetherness. May the parade go on and on…

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!

Quotes on the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.

Walking past a plaque which is engraved with one of many important quotes by Martin Luther King Jr.
Walking past a plaque which is engraved with one of many important quotes by Martin Luther King Jr.

I frequently walk along the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade in downtown San Diego. Whenever I do, I like to randomly read some of the historic MLK quotes that are engraved in plaques along the long pathway. I’ve never counted the number of quotes. There are easily dozens. Every quote on every plaque is important and powerful, and reflects the intelligence, energy, optimism and wisdom of America’s great civil rights leader.

Here are photos taken at different times of a few of Dr. King’s quotes…

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed.
Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed.
The deep rumbling of discontent that we hear today is the thunder of disinherited masses, rising from dungeons of oppression to the bright hills of freedom in one majestic chorus.
The deep rumbling of discontent that we hear today is the thunder of disinherited masses, rising from dungeons of oppression to the bright hills of freedom in one majestic chorus.
Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.
Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.
We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the Earth like brothers.
We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the Earth like brothers.
Two people walk side-by-side down the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade in downtown San Diego.
Two people walk side-by-side down the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade in downtown San Diego.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
The democratic ideal of freedom and equality will be fulfilled for all--or all human beings will share in the resulting social and spiritual doom...
The democratic ideal of freedom and equality will be fulfilled for all–or all human beings will share in the resulting social and spiritual doom…
The greatest victory of the civil rights period was something internal...We armed ourselves with dignity and self-respect...We straightened our backs up...
The greatest victory of the civil rights period was something internal…We armed ourselves with dignity and self-respect…We straightened our backs up…
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Any law that uplifts human personality is just, any law that degrades human personality is unjust.
Any law that uplifts human personality is just, any law that degrades human personality is unjust.
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
Breaking the Chains sculpture, by Melvin Edwards, reminds people on MLK Promenade of the positive legacy of a great civil rights leader.
Breaking the Chains sculpture, by Melvin Edwards, reminds people on MLK Promenade of the positive legacy of a great civil rights leader.

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