Showing posts with label bobbie smith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bobbie smith. Show all posts

Friday, February 20, 2015

Preview Exhibition - BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way

(Past Preview Mini Exhibit held February 7-8, 2015)


(Cover Photo by Carolyn Smiths Watts, Shoreline Village, Published in Tuttle Cameras One Camera Project, 
Exhibited at the Historical Society of Long Beach; Other photos on this page by Sunny Nash)

(Standing left to right): Evelyn Knight marched with Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery; Patricia Lofland, first black member of Long Beach City College Board of Trustees; Bobbie Smith, first black LB woman elected to public office and has a school named for her; Alta Cooke, first black high school principal; Carrie Bryant, city’s first black private school operator; Vera Mulkey, the City’s first black Chief of Staff; Wilma Powell, the nation’s first female Chief Wharfinger; Doris Topsy-Elvord, first African American Long Beach Harbor Commissioner & first black female LB Vice Mayor; (Seated left to right): Autrilla Scott, city’s first black LB citizen with street named for her; Maycie Herrington, recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal; Dale Clinton’s letter to President Johnson is archived at the Library of Congress; and (not present): Lillie Mae Wesley, neighborhood parent for 30 years with LB Parks & Recreation. 




EXPO Arts Center
Bixby Knolls
Long Beach
Adoring crowds from across the Southern California filled the EXPO Arts Center Saturday and Sunday, February 7-8, 2015, for a BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way Exhibition Preview for the Andy Street Community Association's Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.



Living Legend, Evelyn Knight (left)
&
Eleanor Schmidt, Former Executive Director
Long Beach Public Library 
Evelyn Knight marched with Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery; Dale Clinton’s letter to President Johnson is archived at the Library of Congress. Wilma Powell was the first U.S. female Chief Wharfinger; Doris Topsy-Elvord, first black female Vice Mayor; Autrilla Scott, city’s first black citizen with a street named for her; Patricia Lofland, first black member of Long Beach City College Board of Trustees; Vera Mulkey, the city’s first black chief of staff; Alta Cooke, first black high school principal; Bobbie Smith, first black woman elected to public office and has a school named for her; Carrie Bryant, city’s first black private school operator; Maycie Herrington, recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal. Lillie Mae Wesley, neighborhood parent for 30 years through Parks & Recreation.



Exhibition Preview Visitor
"Time for education was a sacrifice these women made," said Nash, editor of the collection of historical profiles, BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way. "Although nothing is guaranteed in this life, education is a necessary part of preparing for a successful future. Study, one solid method of giving a dream a fair chance to become a reality, grooms a person for the inevitable competition of those who may have the same dream.” 

The full BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way Exhibition, sponsored by Leadership Long Beach, will open Tuesday, September 29, 2015, at the Atrium Center & Theater in the Long Beach Public Library off of City Hall Public Plaza. This extensive display of portraiture, historic photographic reproductions, artifacts, documents and memorabilia will cover three decades of achievement by these Long Beach women.


Portraiture Captured Imagination






Interactive Educational  Component
Popular with Visitors



 

 


Map Wall a Point of Interest





Memorabilia Quite an Attraction







LIVING LEGENDS 

MAKE APPEARANCE AT PREVIEW


Living Legend, Dale Clinton
& Children

Living Legend, Vera Mulkey
& Children

Living Legend, Wilma Powell


Living Legends
Bobbie Smith & Alta Cooke

Photojournalist and author, Sunny Nash, and Long Beach humanitarian, Carolyn Smith Watts are the co-curators of BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way, about 12 African American women, who made a difference in the cultural history of Long Beach. Their pioneering project began with a book of historical profiles, collection of artifacts, documentary film and website in 2007. 

BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way blossomed into an exhibition of historic photographic restorations, document reproductions, artifacts, and ancestral papers when Nash won a Professional Artist Fellowship from the Arts Council for Long Beach and the City of Long Beach to design the museum catalog and reproduce photographic restorations and documents.

“These 12 women have collectively contributed 711 years of experience to Long Beach,” Watts said. “In the past fifty years, they have mothered hundreds children, some of whom were their own and others were neighborhood children who needed love and support. Yes, of course, there are other women in our city with thousands of stories and each one invaluable.” 

“One lesson young people can learn from these 12 incredible women is to be dedicated to their dreams and be willing to make certain sacrifices to nurture their dreams,” Nash said.



Project Consultant, Peter Bostic 
Working with Carolyn Smith Watts
On Interactive Educational Component
Carolyn Smith Watts and Peter Bostic, project consultant, work on the preview map wall and interactive educational component. The map wall plots the journeys of the 12 women from their places of birth to Long Beach. 

The interactive educational component challenges preview visitors to plot their journeys and the journeys of their ancestors to Long Beach. The locations leading to Long Beach were varied, ranging from Calgary, Canada, to Puerto Rico, Hawaii, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, St. Louis, the Gulf Coast, Mexico, the Rockies, the Pacific Northwest, the Pacific Islands, Australia, Africa and parts of Europe.


BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way is more than an exhibition. It is a total historical  experience.



Preview Sponsors

Leadership Long Beach

Arts Council for Long Beach

City of Long Beach

Long Beach Public Library

Historical Society of Long Beach

Robin D. Perry & Associates

Chick-fil-A - Town Center

Andy Street Community Association

EXPO Arts Center

Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association


Content © Copyright 2015 BREAKING THROuGH  Lighting the WayAll Rights Reserved Worldwide.

~Thank You~


Breaking Through Lighting the Way
Breaking Through Lighting the Way
Breaking Through Lighting the Way

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bobbie Smith, Still Breaking Through in Education



Bobbie Smith Photo by Carolyn Smith Watts
Bobbie Smith
Photo by Carolyn Smith Watts

Bobbie Smith 

Elementary School



Official Naming Ceremony Bobbie Smith Elementary School December 8, 2014, 10:00 a.m.


The Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) board voted unanimously on Tuesday, September 2, 2014, to recognize the first African American LBUSD member, Bobbie Smith, by naming a school in her honor.



When asked about her groundbreaking accomplishments, Smiths modestly replied, "Yes, I believe that is true and I am honored to have a school named after me."


Long Beach Unified School District

Bobbie Smith 
First African American 
Long Beach Female 
Elected to Public Office

Four-Term Board President
Long Beach Unified School District 




Bobbie Smith received tenure after only two years and was with  for twenty-two years. 




Long Beach City College
First African American Long Beach City College LBCC Librarian

First African American LBCC Head Librarian 

First African American LBCC Faculty Senate Member & President



Bobbie Smith was born in the Jim Crow Deep South--Mississippi--in 1932, during the midst of the Great Depression and the height of the Jim Crow era, when hooded mobs rode the countryside burning and lynching; and most little black girls could only look forward to becoming some one's maid. However, Bobbie Smith does not interpret her heritage as a misfortune, but instead calls it a blessing because it taught her so much about surviving impossible odds.



Chicago Public Library

"It (Mississippi) was very segregated," she said. "African American and white children attended separate schools. When I finished eighth grade (age 13), there was no high school in my Mississippi community. I went sixty miles away from home to finish high school." 

During high school, she worked for room and board. After high school she was awarded a scholarship for college that didn't pay everything. So, there was more work to get through undergraduate studies. 

Bobbie Smith said Mississippi was so segregated at that time that the State government paid African Americans to secure graduate and professional training outside the state. Taking advantage of this financial opportunity, she enrolled at Eureka College in Illinois, graduating in 1955, when she joined the ranks of other renown alumni who went on to become attorneys, doctors and President of the United States.

Some young scholars of civil rights history think racism only occurred in the American Deep South. What BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way indicates is that assumption is inaccurate. Racism did occur in the past and still does occur in the present wherever a person's race or ethnic background matters enough to change the way people treat the person. Each of the women in the project talked about her personal experiences with racism and discrimination in Southern California. Without being deterred from their goals, however, each woman in her own way acted with the same conviction as Rosa Parks when she ignited the Montgomery Bus Boycott.


When Smith and her husband arrived in Los Angeles, she said they were thinking, "What have we gotten ourselves into? Well," she paused, "looking back, things worked out pretty well."


"The night in 1965 when my husband and I drove into Los Angeles," Bobbie Smith said. "Was the night that Watts exploded into riots." 


Watts Riots 1965
Watts Riots 1965
Between August 11 and 17, 1965, Los Angeles experienced the worse urban rioting on U.S. soil in 20 years and some of the worse racial tension the nation had witnessed, on television, of course. Ignited by the arrest of a young African American man by a white California Highway Patrolman, rioting broke out in the impoverished South Central neighborhood of Watts and caused nearly a week of violence, fire, mobilization of the National Guard, 4,000 arrests and 34 deaths. The Los Angeles riots was a prelude to nationwide rioting in the northeast, the mid-west, central plains, the southwest and the south.


Bobbie Smith went on to earn a master's degree in library science from the University of Illinois at Champagne and got a job at the Chicago Public Library where she worked "in that cold weather."


Carolyn Smith Watts  Historical Society of Long Beach Photograph by Sunny Nash
Carolyn Smith Watts 
Historical Society of Long Beach
Bobbie Smith is featured in BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way, a collection of historical profiles on African American women who made a noteworthy difference in the racial history of Long Beach, California. This collection, edited by Sunny Nash with the foreword by Carolyn Smith Watts and preface by Julie Bartolotto; was released in 2008 at the Historical Society of Long Beach. A documentary film of the work premiered at the Atrium Theater of the Long Beach Public Library, also in 2008.

BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way began with a series of photographs taken by Carolyn Smith Watts at Shoreline Village in Long Beach. One of Watts' photographs, selected for the Tuttle Cameras project and book, One Camera, was exhibited with the other images from the book at the Historical Society of Long Beach, and published on the cover of BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way

"As I called each woman to invite her on Wednesday, September 24, 2007, to take a picture and have lunch Watts said. "Each seemed honored to be included. Then I called Sunny Nash, my friend and mentor. She brought her video camera. Every time Sunny and I talked (after that), a new idea was born and then another and another. Before we knew it, I had scheduled Sunny to do portraits and video interviews with the twelve women in their homes, and film twenty-five of their children and ten community leaders."


BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way

"This is a project that I saw from the very start as being of great magnitude and influence," Nash said. "It didn't matter that it wasn't my idea. What matters is that Carolyn saw something important, acted upon it and included me."


Bobbie Smith Elementary School will be the new name for the former Peter H. Burnett Elementary School.


Bobbie Smith and Dale Clinton Thomas R. Cordova / Staff Photographer Press Telegram
Bobbie Smith and Dale Clinton
Thomas R. Cordova / Staff Photographer
Press Telegram
Bobbie Smith and her friend Dale Clinton attended the LBUSD board meeting when the announcement was made of the school's renaming. The board also honored Eunice Sato, the first female mayor of Long Beach, with a school named in her honor. 

Community organizer and civil rights activist, Dale Clinton is another of the influential women published in BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way. Her correspondence with President Lyndon Johnson on his "War on Poverty" has been collected by the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.


BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way  Profiles of African American Women who made a difference to the history of Long Beach, California  Edited by Sunny Nash Foreword by Carolyn Smith Watts  (l-r, rear) Evelyn Knight, Patricia Lofland Bobbie Smith, Alta Cooke, Carrie Bryant Vera Mulkey, Wilma Powell, Doris Topsy-Elvord (seated l-r) Autrilla Scott, Maycie Herrington Dale Clinton & Lillie Mae Wesley (not present)
BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way

Profiles of African American
Women who made a difference
to the history of Long Beach, 
California

Edited by Sunny Nash
Foreword by Carolyn Smith Watts
Bobbie Smith, Alta Cooke, Carrie Bryant
Dale Clinton & Lillie Mae Wesley (not present) 


Sunny Nash and Carolyn Smith Watts are in the process of creating a major exhibition of the research and images gathered for BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way. The exhibition will include portraiture by Sunny Nash taken of the women during their interviews, historical photographic restorations from their personal photo albums, photographic reproductions of documents, artifacts, and a display of Carolyn Smith Watts' images from her Shoreline Village photo shoot.

"These women broke through racial and gender barriers and persevered to open up opportunities for those who came after them in education, social service, civil rights, public service, shipping industries and community building," said Julie Bartolotto, Executive Director of the Historical Society of Long Beach. "Their book documented the many significant histories that contribute to a more complete narrative of Long Beach's past."

Quoted in a Press Telegramn article by Nadra Nittle, the Superintendent of LBUSD, Chris Steinhauser, said Bobbie Smith is “a pillar of this community, a person who all kids in all walks of life can look up to, one they could grow up to be like." 


Official Naming Ceremony for Bobbie Smith Elementary School Monday, December 8, 2014, 10:00 a.m.


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All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
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~Thank You~




Breaking Through Lighting the Way