Institute for Arts and Media

Tom & Ethel Bradley Center


Luis Valdez: Aesthetics of El Teatro Campesino
March 15, 7:30 pm CSUN Theatre RSVP here (free) 
Luis Valdez, acclaimed Chicano playwright and filmmaker, will discuss, with Theatre professor Jorge Huerta, Valdez’s career and his new book, Theatre of the Sphere: The Vibrant Being—an actor’s guide that fuses ancient Mayan and contemporary Western performance aesthetics within an interdisciplinary framework. The book is also an insight into the unique aesthetic process of Teatro Campesino—from shows staged on the backs of flatbed trucks by the participants in the Delano Grape Strike of the 1960s to international hits like the 1979 play Zoot Suit, the first Latino-authored play to appear on Broadway. Teatro Campesino served as the catalyst for the first Chicano Theatre Festival in Fresno (1970) and as the avant-garde of a young, creative, and politically engaged Chicano theatre that bloomed in California and across the country. Valdez’s now classic films, Zoot Suit (1981) and La Bamba (1987) also helped shaped the first wave of Chicanx-Latinx filmmakers that paved the way for others to enter that industry as shapers of their own image. The event will be accompanied with a display of dozens of images by photojournalists John Kouns and Emmon Clarke, as part of the Tom and Ethel Bradley Center’s Farmworker Movement Collection. These photographs capture the Teatro Campesino early performances in union meetings, in the fields, in marches, and in college campuses. Note: There will be sign language interpreters at this event.

Sponsors: The Diversity & Equity Innovation Grant of the President’s Commission on Diversity & Inclusion; the University Student Union; Graduate Studies Distinguished Visiting Speakers Program; the Tom and Ethel Bradley Center, the Departments of Theatre, Chicana and Chicano Studies, Cinema and Television Arts, and Journalism; and the University Library.


You can watch some videos of the Farmworker Movement Collection, documenting the experiences of participants of the Farmworker Movement, by going to our YouTube channel's Farmworker Movement Collection playlist. 

We are excited to announce the recent release of videos in The Black Power Archives Oral History Project, a collection of oral histories documenting the experiences of Black Power activists in Los Angeles.  We invite you to explore The Black Power Archives.

The Tom & Ethel Bradley Center 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 Bradley Center 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.

New Additions

The Bradley Center and University Library have added over 5,000 images to the Charles Williams collection online!

Photographer Charles "Chuck" Williams worked for the Los Angeles Sentinel, California Eagle and other publications. His career spans from the mid-1940s to 1980s. Williams covered people and event in the African American community, Civil Rights Movement, and night clubs including The Plantation, The Down Beat, The Cobra Room and many others. He established and taught at The California School of Photography and employed young professions of all backgrounds. Councilman Gordon Hahn appointed Williams as his field deputy and he became the official photographer of Hahn. Due to his involvement with Hahn and Councilman Gilbert Lindsay, his documentation of the City Council, council members, and activities is especially rich. Later, Williams opened the first black advertising agency on the West Coast and added the "Charm Centre," a fashion and model school.

The Bradley Center is completing 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 the CSUN University Library’s Digital Collections.

Los Angeles: Displacement in Utopia

This mini documentary examines the history of how racial restrictive covenants developed, who fought against them, and how they were legally struck down in Los Angeles California and eventually the nation. 

Featured Oral History Clip:

Clip from interview with Civil Rights activist and former executive secretary for the Western Christian Leadership Conference Gwen Green. Mrs. Green worked with Dr. King, Hosea Williams, Harry Belafonte, Andrew Young and Sammy Davis Jr. In this segment she discusses the power of nonviolent protest and the fear that accompanies it.

As part of our NEH grant to digitize the collection, the Bradley Center 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.