The Institute for Arts & Media has over one million images produced by Los Angeles-based photographers that document the social, cultural and political lives of the diverse communities of Los Angeles and the Southern California region between the 1910s and the present. The archives contain one of the largest collections of African American photographers west of the Mississippi and the most extensive collection in Southern California.
In addition are the collections of Edward Alfano; David Blumenkrantz, documenting various regions of Africa; Herb Carleton, covering the San Fernando Valley; Emmon Clarke, containing extensive documentation of the United Farmworkers organization and César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, Gibert Padilla, Luis Valdez and other leaders of the union and its members; and Richard Cross, that documents the wars in El Salvador and Honduras, the Afro-Columbian community Palenque de San Basilio (near Cartagena), Cuba, the Masai and the Maya refugee camps in Mexico.
The Institute has a Border Studies Collection that examines the issues surrounding the border between the United States and Mexico. Through photographic collections, oral histories, manuscripts, videos, newspaper archives and guest lectures issues such as immigration, human rights, globalization, and economic violence are examined.
Over 500 images, spanning the 1940s –1960s, have been added to the Charles Williams Online Collection!
As a freelance photographer, Williams photographed for the California Eagle and the Los Angeles Sentinel. His extensive coverage of the African American community includes the Civil Rights Movement, City Hall, churches, politics, social activities and celebrities. Williams was the official photographer and Field Deputy for Councilman Gordon Hahn. Included in the recent additions are images of Councilman Gilbert Lindsay, portraits of Civil Rights leaders and community members, local businesses, Mayor Tom Bradley, Richard Nixon, California Christian Ministries Conference, clubs and social events, and politicians.
The Institute is completing the first year of a three-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, digitizing over 17,000 images from photographers Charles Williams, Harry Adams, and Guy Crowder. The images document the African American community in post-World War II Los Angeles and will be made available online through CSUN’s Oviatt Library’s Digital Collections.
Clips from interview with Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, former member of the United States House of Representatives from California and retired Los Angeles County Supervisor.
As part of our NEH grant to digitize the collection, the Institute is conducting interviews with community members about growing up and living in Los Angeles during the Civil Rights Movement. We will be posting clips from these interviews as they are available. Check back often to see which interviews are posted.