The Martin Luther King, Jr. Mural went up along the I-95 a few years back. As a matter of fact, several places in California pay tribute to African-Americans in California. If you want to learn more about the experience of being African-American in this state, check out the following:
- Start in the Bay Area at The Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco that displays mostly contemporary art, including Ethiopian painter Qes Adamu Tsfaw. You can also trek into the districts of Fillmore, Bayview, Ocean View, Western Addition and Hunters Point, which have been historically black enclaves.
- Then head over to Oakland where you’ll find the Marcus Bookstore, which specializes in African American literature and history. The African American Museum & Library at Oakland has a great history archive. Here, you can visit the black enclaves of Lower Bottoms, Sobrante Park and Parchester Village in Richmond also.
- The Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley has some charming peace tiles set within a park.
- Drive south to San Jose to visit mummies and a subterranean tomb at The Egyptian Museum.
- Go inland and stop at the Oroville Visitor’s Center, which has an interesting exhibit about James Beckwourth, a slave and then trapper who discovered a pass in the Sierra Valley that bears his name. The pass provided access to the northern mines of California and he was likely the first wagon train over this trail, which began in the Trukee Meadows (now Reno) and ended at Bidwell’s Bar.
- Head to Yosemite and learn about the Buffalo Soldiers. After the creating of the national parks in 1890, the US Army was in charge of safeguarding the areas. In 1903, the segregated 9th Cavalry, known as Buffalo Soldiers, were sent to patrol. They built roads, created a trail system, and they were commanded by Captain Charles Young.
- Drive south to Los Angeles where you’ll find The California African American Museum. This museum documents African and African American art and history, especially as it pertains to California and the West.
- Leimert Park Village is in the heart of South Central, and the upscale shops and restaurants are in the now prosperous heart of LA’s African American community.
- To the very south, check out the World Beat Center in San Diego.
Have a missed something along the trail? Write and let me know!