I’ve lived in Los Angeles County for 11 years and I finally made my way down to the California African American Museum a little while ago. I know. I’ve gotta do better. But I was glad that I went when I did. I heard that the “No Justice, No Peace: LA 1992” exhibit — focusing on the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots that came on the heels of the Rodney King verdict — was closing, so that seemed as good a time as any to visit. When my guy and I arrived, we weren’t prepared for the emotions that took hold of us as soon as we stepped into the exhibit. Heavy doesn’t even begin to explain it. There was a police vehicle from the era right in the middle of the floor (it’s unclear if that was the exact car involved in the King incident), and images of the King beating and news footage of the subsequent riots played on TVs across the room. There were also artifacts from some of the people, even a 13-year-old girl gunned down by a store owner, who were unfortunate casualties of the unrest. Our eyes filled with tears reading about the loss of innocent lives, and the complete disregard for black lives that’s still prevalent to this day. Maybe that’s why it was so gripping. In short, the exhibit was powerful and one I won’t forget. There was also an intriguing exhibit about black women in silent films that provided a rare glimpse of our people’s first appearances in motion pictures. The images above don’t capture those exhibits — my pictures wouldn’t do them justice. But on the lighter side of the museum were these marvelous works by African-American artists. They each evoke a sense of pride and wonderment in their own unique ways. Click through the slideshow to see a few of my favorites from that day. If you’re in LA and you haven’t been to the California African American Museum, run, don’t walk, over there. It will fill your soul and make you think.
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