From Sandy Banks, The Los Angeles Times:
My visit to the California Science Center’s black history exhibit this week was intended as rainy day relief; an emotional lift and respite for me from those relentless images of Haitian grief.
I hauled my college daughter along because it seemed a fitting way to celebrate the holiday honoring Martin Luther King. She had just wrapped up a freshman “ethnic studies” course where the historical narrative seemed to be WASPs against the rest of us.
It reminded me that history depends on who’s doing the telling. When I was her age, people of color were asterisks, not narrators. Tomorrow’s version will depend on today’s storytellers.
This exhibit – American I AM: The African American Imprint – leaves no doubt about its vision: to “celebrate nearly 500 years of African American contributions to the U.S.”
So I wasn’t surprised by the visitors wending their way through the gallery:
The trio of elderly black women, trading recollections before a display of Jim Crow-era “White Ladies” and “Colored Women” markers. The teenagers in hip-hop gear crowding around a glass case featuring Tupac Shakur’s handwritten lyrics. A family of five from Inglewood, wearing designer jeans and Barack Obama T-shirts.
The exhibit, created by broadcaster Tavis Smiley, is on its third stop in a 10-city, four-year tour. It opened in Exposition Park in October and runs through April. On Monday, the day I visited, more than 700 people bought tickets to see it.
It has gotten off to a slow start in Los Angeles, where the black population is not as concentrated or politically active as the cities of its previous stops, Philadelphia and Atlanta.
Continue to The LA Times website for the complete article.