Dave Nufer is a program developer, researcher, and docent for Pasadena Heritage and The LA Conservancy. He has previously given talks at the Library on "Hispanic Influences on California Architecture", and "The Asian Roots of Pasadena's Arts and Crafts Architecture".
Many people do not realize how deep the roots the African American community has in Southern California. This talk explores the stories, some little known, of half a dozen pioneering, local, Black individuals and communities:
- The Pobladores, the original 1781 settlers of the Pueblo of Los Angeles, over half of whom had some African blood.
- Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of California, of African and Mestizo ancestry.
- Biddy Mason, a midwife, who went from newly freed slave to one of the largest commercial landowners in LA within 20 years.
- The original African American settlers of Pasadena, who quickly formed a vibrant, tightly knit, community here by the early 1900's.
- Paul R. Williams, the first licensed African American architect West of the Mississippi, who built almost a thousand buildings throughout LA, including in and around Pasadena, among them mansions for stars such as Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, and Barbara Stanwyck.
- Jackie Robinson, who starred in four sports at John Muir High School, PCC, and UCLA, and went on to become the first African American player in major league baseball.
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