Mount St. Mary's College - Cultural Fluency
Mount Saint Mary's College

Center for Cultural Fluency

African Americans

Cultural Connections

California African American Museum
600 State Drive
Exposition Park
Los Angeles, CA90037
213. 744-7432
Established in 1977 by the state of California, CAAM has its primary goal the collection and preservation of artifacts documenting the Afro-American experience. The exhibitions and programs focus on those contributions made to the arts, humanities, sciences politics, religions, and sports. In so doing, the museum aids in the recovery of Afro-American history. Lectures, films, workshops, special performances, gift shop, and a registry of African-American artists compliment the exhibition schedule.

Eso Wan Books
3655 South La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90016
This dynamic bookstore is well worth the browsing time you can give it. The adult and children's fiction and non-fiction selections are extensive, and many audio books by African-American authors that are not found in more mainstream bookstores and catalogs are available. The posters, calendars, greeting cards, and book signings are additional reasons to visit this important resource. Plan your visit to coincide with a special event.

First African Methodist Episcopal Church
2270 South Harvard Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90018
213.735-1251 fax. 213.735-7829
Part of the oldest black denomination in the United States, First AME in Los Angeles was founded by former slave, then business woman and philanthropist, Biddy Mason in 1872. Playing a critical role as a spiritual, recreational, and community center, this congregation is led by the dynamic Reverend Cecil Murray. The splendid choir sits facing the congregation and their loving energy will keep you humming and smiling long after the service

Museum of African American Art
4005 Crenshaw Blvd. at Martin Luther King Blvd.
Robinson's May *Third Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90008
Hours: Thu-Sun 11a.m.-6p.m., Sunday noon-5p.m.
This small museum, tucked into a corner of a department store, manages an ambitious schedule of exhibitions and book signings. Call them for special events information.


Leimert Park Village
Crenshaw Blvd. and 43rd Street
South Central L.A., CA 90008

There is a community within Los Angeles that is richly cultural and vibrant. On any day of the week there is Jazz and African style rhythms echoing throughout the streets. There is laughter and conversations on its walks. Every Sunday, by the way of illustrations, Leimert Park in South Central Los Angeles, has drummers thrumming rhythmus measures. Afro-Caribbean style combat dancers practice a couple of yards away and on the grass sits a casual audience, feeling the sounds-almost entranced by the beats. Children run about the attractive turf-weaving through drummers, dancers, and listeners.

This urban community in Los Angeles where, particularly, Africans Americans reside and discourse is used to hearing music and exchanging friendly acknowledgements like "Greetings" or "Assalamu Alaikum" (Peace Be Upon You" and "Inshallah" (God Willing) to the like-minded.

Degnan Boulevard is the main street with shops, galleries and restaurants. People stroll its stretch day and night, without fear. Businesses are always open to be strolled through and patroned, and conversation with shop personnel and passerby is likely to strike up after mutual greetings. With the common idea that this area of Los Angeles is plagued with crime and drugs, Leimert Park Village stands out as an achievement-a place where poets, artists, musicians and regular folk mix-acclaiming the success of the African American community in the most positive way.

Visit the World Stage Performance Gallery (4344 Degnan Blvd.) for live musical and spoken word performances. Wonderful stained glass creations can be found at Ramsess Glass (4342 Degnan Blvd.) At Lucy Flores Coffee House, bathe in the warm atmosphere and cool jazz, as performances are given most evenings.

Author: Lynette
Published on July 15, 2001





  • Baldwin, James. Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son. 1993, originally published 1961. Vintage. ISBN 0-679-74473-8.

    An author of more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, Baldwin's voice was first heard in the 1950s. This is a collection of deeply felt essays on topics ranging from race relations to the role of the writer in society.

  • Du Bois, W.E.B. Against Racism: Unpublished Essays, Papers, Addresses. Edited by Herbert Aptheker. 1985. University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 0-87023-134-0.

    Du Bois was a Harvard graduate who began his transformative scholarship and writing on African Americans, slavery, and racism in the late 1800's. This fascinating collection of comments spans the lifetime of one of our truly great Americans.

  • hooks, bell. killing rage: ending racism. 1995. Henry Holt. ISBN 0-8050-3782-9.

    This collection of twenty three essays by the author of Ain't I a Woman and Black Looks, is a powerful critique of racism and sexism in the United States today. Included here is her positive plan for the future in her concluding chapter entitled "Beloved Community: A World Without Racism." Hooks is a Distinguished Professor of English at City College in New York and is considered to be one of the most prominent contemporary radical intellectuals. Cornell West wrote, "It is difficult to read a bell hooks essay or text without enacting some form of self-examination or self-inventory."

  • Terkel, Studs. Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel about the American Obsession. 1992. Anchor. ISBN 0-385-46889-X.

    Contemporary American voices from all walks of life share their thoughts on race. This is an important contribution to the public discussion about race issues that we continue to have difficulty holding face to face.

  • West, Cornell. Race Matters. 1993. Beacon Press. ISBN 0-8070-0918-0.

    West, a professor of religion and director of Afro-American Studies at Princeton, is one of the leading intellectuals writing about race. This readable book is divided into eight accessible chapters including "Beyond Affirmative Action: Equality and Identity," "Black Sexuality," and "Malcolm X and Black Rage."


  • Angelou, Maya. Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas. 1976.Bantam. ISBN 0-553-25199-6.

    Angelou's career as an entertainer is highlighted in this book. She is a readable and best selling author whose other books include I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, a look back at her childhood in the segregated South and Wouldn't Take Nothing for my Journey Now, her most recent book.

  • Goldman, Roger and David Gallen. Thurgood Marshall: Justice for All. 1992. ISBN 0-88184-805-0.

    Some say Marshall did more to improve the conditions of the underdog in American society than any other attorney in the twentieth century. He gave the persuasive arguments in the famous 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case that ended legal segregation in schools. Winning twenty-nine of the thirty-two cases he argued before the Supreme Court, he established a record that stands unparalleled in American judicial history. He joined that court in 1967 and served as an associate judge until his retirement in 1991. This major biography is divided into three parts, recollections from those who knew and worked with him, a detailed essay examining Marshall's philosophy and jurisprudence and the final section containing a selection of his opinions and dissents.

  • Haley, Alex, and Malcolm X. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. 1964. Ballentine Books. ISBN 0-345-35068-5.

    Honest, powerful, and articulate, this book resonates deeply among many African Americans. Spike Lee called it, "The most important book I ever read" and eventually used it for the script of his film, Malcolm X. (see video recommendations below.)


  • Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1990, originally published 1937, reprinted 1990. Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-091650-8.

    Janie Crawford tells us there are "two things everybody's got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin' fuh theyselves." This classic of African American literature, rich in African American language, was out of print for thirty years, "rediscovered" in the late 60's, and has been the center of discussion and book lists ever since. Her work as a novelist is significantly informed by her work as a folklorist and anthropologist, and her books are especially important for giving voice to the woman's experience.

  • Morrison, Toni. Jazz. 1992. Anchor. ISBN 0679 41167-4.

    Morrison's most recent book is set in Harlem in the 1920's when, it is often assumed, African Americans were enjoying new opportunities for freedom of expression and freedom from oppression after they migrated to the northern urban areas of our country. With characteristic Morrison genius we learn about the real reasons African Americans came to the cities and the obstacles they faced there. Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993 and anything by this author is exciting reading. She won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 1978 for Song of Solomon, which recently appeared on the New Times bestseller list after 20 years. Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988 for Beloved. Also see The Bluest Eye, Sula, and Tar Baby.

  • Naylor, Gloria. The Women of Brewster Place. 1980. Viking. ISBN 0-670-77855-9.

    Naylor won the American Book Award for First Fiction in 1983 for this book which tells the stories of the women who come to live in Brewster Place, an unforgiving urban ghetto. Seven stories fold together into this novel. Also by Naylor we recommend Mama Day or Bailey's Cafe.

  • Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. 1982. Washington Square Press. ISBN 0-671-66878-1.

    This remarkable book won the American Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and established Walker as a major voice in modern fiction.

  • Williams, Sherley Anne. Dessa Rose. 1986. William Morrow. ISBN 0-688-05113-8.

    Set in the middle 1800's with the institution of slavery as its backdrop, this is the story of a relationship between two women, one white and one black, as their lives converge after the black woman's husband is killed for protecting her and their unborn child. This important novel speaks powerfully to the enormous individual strength and love that even the institution of slavery could not destroy.



  • Do the Right Thing. 120 minutes. 1989. MCA Home Video.

    It's a hot, hot summer day in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Mookie is delivering pizzas for Sal's. Spike Lee's screenplay is delivering our urban streets.

  • Glory. 122 minutes. 1989. Columbia Tristar Home Video.

    The 54th Regiment of Massachusetts was the first Black regiment to fight in the Civil War. Strong depiction here of the prejudice in the North against the "Coloreds".

  • Malcolm X. 201 minutes. 1992. Warner Home Video.

    If you don't have time for the book, try an evening with Spike Lee's double video set.

  • Roots Vol. 1-6, each 90 minutes. 1977. Warner Home Video.

    Based on Alex Haley's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, this series held the nation spellbound when it first aired on television for eight consecutive nights in 1977. The series spans 100 years in United States history by telling the story of an African American family, beginning with the kidnapping in Africa and extending through slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Two years in the making, winner of nine Emmy Awards and 135 other honors, this series opened our eyes not only to the story it had to tell but how to use video to do that effectively. Available at many libraries.