History of Local African Americans Focus of Museum’s Program

By February 9, 2021Press Releases

LOS ALTOS, CA (February 9, 2021) Local author and historian Jan Batiste Adkins explores The History of African Americans in Santa Clara County from 1780 to present day in a Zoom event hosted by Los Altos History Museum, Feb 24 at 5pm.

Through photographs and untold stories of African American pioneers of the local region, Adkins will present research from her latest book, “African Americans of San Jose and Santa Clara County,” followed by a Q & A session. In honor of Black History Month, this program commemorates the contributions of black visionaries in the Bay Area, beginning with people of African descent who arrived in San Jose with the Spaniards in 1777 to help establish the agricultural settlement of El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe.

“I want people to understand the extent of participation by people of African descent who established viable communities, churches, businesses, and schools, interacting with other communities as far south as Monterey and east to Sacramento,” Adkins said. “In my talk, I’ll discuss these early visionaries; what it meant for families brought as slaves to what was considered the free state of California; the creation of black schools and how they became desegregated; the importance of the black church even to the present day; the abolitionist movement in San Jose; and issues that blacks encountered in education, technology and government.”

Jan Batiste Adkins is also the author of “African Americans in San Francisco” and “African Americans of Monterey County,” published by Arcadia Publishing Company. She received her M.A. in Comparative Literature from San Jose State University and B.A. from University of Oregon. Adkins is currently an adjunct faculty member and lecturer at San Jose City College where she teaches English composition, creative writing and literature courses. Since publishing her research, she has widely lectured on the subject of African American pioneers and leaders of the San Francisco Bay Area communities.

The program is free to attend. Register to receive the Zoom link at losaltoshistory.org/HistoryofAfricanAmericansinSCC

Los Altos History Museum began in 1977 with the opening of the J. Gilbert Smith House historic farmhouse, built in 1905. In 2001, the Los Altos History Museum opened its modern building next door, which houses the Museum’s collections, permanent and changing exhibits, store and administrative offices. The Museum and its grounds are available for rent during evenings and weekends. Its collections are owned by the City of Los Altos and are managed by an independent nonprofit organization, whose staff and volunteers are responsible for all programs and operations.

The Museum’s indoor galleries and the J. Gilbert Smith House are temporarily closed. The gardens, outdoor agricultural exhibits and picnic area are accessible beyond Museum hours. For more information, visit: www.losaltoshistory.org, email hello@losaltoshistory.org, or phone 650.948.9427 x14.

Media Contact: Marketing@losaltoshistory.org
Los Altos History Museum: Elisabeth I. Ward, 650.948.9427 x10, eward@losaltoshistory.org

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