As we return to the present, we see an African American community that has become a more united and stronger group. Black residents have created parent groups like the Parent Connection Group (PCG), which is made up of parents who focus on education and creating cultural celebrations. One such celebration is the annual Juneteenth Festival at Virginia Avenue Park, which is a festival that commemorates the liberation of all slaves in the country, a day of true independence for the country.

Many other black residents focus on the preservation of the African American history in Santa Monica. Historians like Robbie Jones, who has been dedicated in preserving local history in the community through her Black History bus tours and advocacy work; as well as the Quinn Research Center (run by Carolyne and Bill Edwards), which was started in honor of Dr. Alfred. T. Quinn, have collected and preserved oral histories and ephemera about Black Santa Monica for decades.

Santa Monica will keep changing, but the stories of our history remains in the experiences of families and friends that talk around the dinner table. This Story Table just has small bits of history and memory, but we hope to add to it in the future. Please share your own memories on our “Contact Us” tab!

The founder of Santa Monica’s Juneteenth Festival, Laverne Ross describes when the festival was founded and conversations in the city during that time.