Wondering how to teach kids about LA's Black history? From South Central to Santa Monica, check out these local landmarks and institutions that shine light on the rich history and culture of LA’s Black community.Less
Although the African-American Firefighter Museum is currently closed, you can still swing by the historic Fire Station 30, opened in 1997 as a dedication to the first 100 years of African-American firefighters in LA. Be sure to return when the museum reopens to discover vintage firefighting gear, photos and memorabilia.
CAAM is a hub of resources to explore the African-American diaspora in Los Angeles and beyond. While the museum is closed due to Covid-19, you can still participate in virtual programs all month long.
This museum has curated two online exhibits that are ready to use as part of your "remote learning" curriculum. The Palmer C. Hayden Collection exhibit features 40 paintings (in seven themed subsections), while the John Henry Series exhibit features 15 paintings. THE PALMER C. HAYDEN COLLECTION is a central part of the permanent collection at MAAA, giving the public insight into the life and and work of one of the leading artists of the Harlem Renaissance.
Still haven't been to the spectacular Watts Towers? This is the perfect opportunity to check out the iconic sculpture, constructed from broken dishes, bottles, tiles, pottery, rocks, seashells and more, items salvaged from the area by Simon Rodia in the early part of the 20th century. Today, the Watts Towers Art Center, adjacent to the Towers, displays contemporary art, provides tours of the Towers and offers art classes, for local youth and special needs adults.
Much more than a neighborhood park, Leimert Plaza Park has been the site for decades of cultural celebrations, community gatherings and a vital space for African Americans to raise their voices together in protest. The famed drum circle takes place at the park every Sunday, including the monthly Art Walk.
Opened in 1932 as the Leimert Theatre, this historic art deco treasure was a movie theater until the 1960s. Actress Marla Gibbs purchased the building in the early '90s and renamed it the Vision Theater. Since the late '90s, Vision Theater has been owned by the City of Los Angeles and is currently undergoing a major renovation to create a state-of-the-art performing arts venue.
Founded in 1987, the independent Black-owned store, Eso Won Books, takes its name from the African term “EsoWon,” which means “water over rocks.” Eso Won strives to be “a living proverb as it provides fluid, safe, stirring opportunities that flow to a reservoir of knowledge for all people to experience.” In addition to its wide selection of books on the African American experience and the African Diaspora, Eso Won has hosted authors including President Barack Obama, Maya Angelou and more.
Beginning in the 1890s, Black families settled in the small neighborhood around Broadway between 4th and 6th Streets, in Santa Monica. The heart of the community would form in approximately a half-mile radius around the Phillips Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, located in an old Colonial Revival schoolhouse on the corner of 4th and Bay. In 2005, Phillips Chapel was designated as a City of Santa Monica landmark.
The Los Angeles Public Library always make a point to commemorate Heritage Months and February is full of events and learning opportunities. There will be a number of virtual programs to celebrate the month, including pre-school story times. The LAPL also has a great list of children’s non-fiction book about African-American history that you can check out.