Library Exhibit

Black and gold graphic bar
 Mar. 14, 2007

Sean Kearns
Media Relations Director
(323) 343-3050
Margie Yu
Public Affairs Specialist
(323) 343-3047



Cal State L.A. 
Office of Public Affairs 
(323) 343-3050 
Fax: (323) 343-6405

Attention Calendar Editors: See event-listing below release.

Fighting for racial equality
over two decades

"‘Black Activism in Urban America"’
on display at Cal State L.A. Library

Los Angeles, CA – A free exhibition exploring Black activism in urban America from 1950 to 1970 is on display through Friday, June 8, at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library at California State University, Los Angeles.

Compiled by Cal State L.A. Emeritus Professor Martin Schiesl, the exhibit highlights black activists groups in the 1950s and 1960s who fought for racial equality. It includes historic photos of black leaders and mass demonstrations, a transcript copy of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech “I Have A Dream,” and reproductions of news clips and rally posters. One panel consists of published works, such as Taylor Branch’s Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63 and Elaine Brown’s A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story.

According to Schiesl, who taught history at Cal State L.A. from 1970 to 2001, “Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference placed the problems of discrimination and segregation in a highly moral context, while the Nation of Islam—led by Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X—preached self-discipline and economic self-sufficiency, and militantly criticized police abuse of black citizens. The Black Panther Party, founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, went further. It strongly promoted revolutionary socialism, threatened retaliation against police repression, and provided vital social services to poor black populations.”

All of them, he said, pursued the same goals: “Justice, freedom, and total equality for African American citizens.”

Schiesl, who received his Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo, specializes in the history of Los Angeles and California and the study of urban America in the 20th century. He is the author of The Politics of Efficiency: Municipal Administration and Reform in America, 1880-1920, co-edited 20th Century Los Angeles: Power, Promotion, and Social Conflict, and is the editor of Responsible Liberalism: Edmund G. "Pat" Brown and Reform Government in California, 1958-1967. His co-edited book, City of Promise: Race and Historical Change in Los Angeles, is included in this exhibit.

The exhibit is open for viewing during Library hours. For details, call (323) 343-4435.


WHAT: An exhibition exploring “Black Activism in Urban America, 1950-1970.”

WHEN: Open now through Fri., June 8.

WHERE: John F. Kennedy Memorial Library, Second Floor Bridge, on the Cal State L.A. campus. The University is at the Eastern Avenue exit, along the San Bernardino Freeway, near the interchange of the 10 and 710 freeways. (Public permit parking is available in Lots C and G or upper level of Parking Structure 2.)

DETAILS: The six-panel exhibit is compiled by Martin Schiesl, emeritus professor of history at Cal State L.A. It is free and open to the public.

INFO: Contact (323) 343-4435. Exhibit website:

Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 190,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, to be housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center now under construction.


# # #