What's It All About?

Join historian, Alison Rose Jefferson, where she will share stories about how African Americans from the 1900s to 1960s created recreational and relaxation spaces at Southern California beaches and other places. In the process sometimes, they were able to form community and created business projects at these sites. These stories are drawn from her recent book, Living the California Dream: African American Leisure Sites during the Jim Crow Era and other work. She will also share how some of these stories are being used in contemporary public history remembrance and public policy actions.


As leisure was gaining centrality as part of the American Dream, Black Californians were working to make it an open, inclusive reality for all. African Americans fought for dignity, equal access and the full range of human experiences and fulfillment in exploration of California’s offerings as they contributed to the state’s development and the broader freedom rights struggle in the United States.


Advance tickets recommended.

Museum members: $7

Non-members: $14


About the Speaker

Alison Rose Jefferson M.H.C. | Ph.D.


Dr. Alison Rose Jefferson is a publicly engaged independent historian, heritage conservation consultant and a third generation Californian. She has worked extensively across Los Angeles and the Southern California region to elucidate and re-center the African American experience in local history, heritage conservation efforts, civic memory, and the American identity.


She has completed two Applied History projects in recent years: Santa Monica’s Belmar History + Art and the Angels Walk LA Central Avenue Heritage Trail. In 2021, Dr. Jefferson was honored with the Santa Monica Conservancy’s Cultural Resource Award for the Belmar History + Art project’s commemoration of the early African American neighborhoods of Santa Monica and the contribution of their residents to the city. Dr. Jefferson 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.


Her recent book, Living the California Dream: African American Leisure Sites during the Jim Crow Era was awarded 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 regional history. The book explores the significance places within the African American experience and in geography, California Dream mythology, Southern California outdoor culture, American history and identity, and contemporary heritage conservation efforts.


Among other projects, Dr. Jefferson is currently a guest curator developing the “Black California Dreamin’” exhibit scheduled to open in late summer 2023 at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles. Her work has garnered attention in programming of varied media outlets. For more on Dr. Jefferson’s work, see her website, alisonrosejefferson.com.


Image from the private LaVera White Collection of Arthur and Elizabeth Lewis featured in Living the California Dream: African American Leisure Sites during the Jim Crow Era, 2020 by Alison Rose Jefferson.

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