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!

Student posters celebrate Freedom of Speech.

Free Speech, Press and Society.
Free Speech, Press and Society.

I was making my way through downtown this morning when I spotted something important that I’d like to blog.

As I walked past the Edward J. Schwartz United States Courthouse, I noticed a new crop of student posters has appeared in the building’s windows. These posters were submitted by local kids for the San Diego County Bar Association’s 2019 Law Week Poster and Video Contest.

The theme this year is Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.

We the People...
We the People…
Natural Rights. First Amendment.
Natural Rights. First Amendment.
Free As a Bird. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
Free As a Bird. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Freedom. Rights. Responsibility.
Freedom. Rights. Responsibility. May all our voices be heard!
Express your opinion. Peacefully protest or assemble.
Express your opinion. Peacefully protest or assemble.
Liberty requires freedom of expression for everybody.
Liberty requires freedom of expression for everybody.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution is vitally important to me. I’m a writer.

If you value individual liberty and a free and open society, its protections are fundamental.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Artwork next to 25th and Commercial trolley station.

Metal artwork at the 25th and Commercial trolley station honors labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.
Metal artwork at the 25th and Commercial trolley station honors labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.

While riding the Orange Line of the San Diego Trolley, I noticed several works of cool art in and around the 25th and Commercial station. So I jumped off, walked around and took photos!

The metalwork that honors Cesar Chavez can be found at the westbound platform. The 25th and Commercial trolley station is dedicated to the civil rights leader.

You might recall that both platforms of the split station also feature amazing tile mosaic benches. I posted those photos here.

We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community. --Cesar E. Chavez
We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community. –Cesar E. Chavez
A sign at the trolley station points to various locations of interest, including Villa Montezuma and Chicano Park.
A sign at the trolley station points to various locations of interest, including Villa Montezuma and Chicano Park.
A metal Don Quixote stands guard by a muffler shop.
A metal Don Quixote stands guard at a nearby muffler shop.
Colorful artwork on the back of the San Diego Police Department Central Division parking garage.
Colorful artwork on the back of the San Diego Police Department Central Division parking garage.
Cool street art on a corner utility box.
Mesoamerican iconography becomes street art on a corner utility box.
A fun heart in a mural on a neighborhood wall.
A fun heart in a mural on a nearby wall.
A cool car painted on a fence along Commercial Street in Logan Heights.
A cool car painted on a fence along Commercial Street in Logan Heights.

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!

Student posters: Equality and Justice For All.

Justice and Equality.
Justice and Equality.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It’s a day for reflection and hope.

This morning I walked past San Diego’s downtown Edward J. Schwartz United States Courthouse. I paused by several window displays to take photographs of colorful youth art.

The artwork was chosen from many entries to the San Diego County Bar Association’s 2018 Law Week Poster and Video Contest. The theme was: What does Equality and Justice for All mean to students?

Taking sharp photos through the windows was a challenge. I had to increase the contrast for each of these images.

Enjoy a few bits of wisdom from young hearts and minds:

Equal and Free!
Equal and Free!
Respect . . . Fairness . . . Education . . .
Respect . . . Fairness . . . Education . . .
All should mean Everyone.
All should mean Everyone.
Equality and Justice for All.
Equality and Justice for All.
Equality and Justice.
Equality and Justice.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

“Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. 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.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

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!

Faces of civil rights leaders on Imperial Avenue.

A street mural in San Diego that features many famous faces. Martin Luther King, Jr. is joined by others who have worked to advance civil rights.
A street mural in San Diego that features many famous faces. Martin Luther King, Jr. is joined by others who have worked to advance civil rights.

A long mural at the corner of 32nd Street and Imperial Avenue celebrates many of history’s most recognized civil rights leaders. Among them are those who have fought to empower the poor, advocates for democracy, human equality and social justice, and peacemakers.

Originally painted in 1986 to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., the mural was restored and augmented in 2002 by internationally renowned muralist and activist Mario Torero with the help of the local community. The mural now includes faces from around the world, as you can see in these photographs.

The colorful mural spans two walls near the border of two neighborhoods east of downtown San Diego: Logan Heights and Stockton. The images have again faded with time, but the idealism represented remains timeless and powerful.

The face of Cesar Chavez.
The face of Cesar Chavez.
The face of the Dalai Lama.
The face of the Dalai Lama.
The face of Óscar Romero.
The face of Óscar Romero.
The face of Corazon Aquino.
The face of Corazon Aquino.
The face of Desmond Tutu.
The face of Desmond Tutu.
The face of Nelson Mandela.
The face of Nelson Mandela.
The face of Mother Teresa.
The face of Mother Teresa.
The face of Chief Joseph.
The face of Chief Joseph.
The face of Mahatma Gandhi.
The face of Mahatma Gandhi.

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!

Street art fights domestic violence, sexual abuse.

No means no.
No means no.

Many panels of street art can be seen on a construction site fence in East Village. They address diverse issues, promote civil rights, condemn social wrongs. They all speak to the human heart. They all concern love. Real love.

I don’t know who painted these panels. All are simple, but extremely powerful.

Most of the artwork opposes domestic violence, sexual exploitation and abuse.

Domestic violence is horrific.  It’s a hidden crime that damages too many lives.

San Diego has a terrible sex trafficking problem. It’s an issue some of our city leaders are trying to address.

Here are a few photos.

There's nothing super about domestic violence.
There’s nothing super about domestic violence.
Stop human trafficking.
Stop human trafficking.
Not all monsters are in the dark.
Not all monsters are in the dark.
Sometimes people wipe away their tears so you can't see them.
Sometimes people wipe away their tears so you can’t see them.

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!