A Message to Our Community

June 20, 2020

At this time of great pain and uncertainty in our nation and community, we at the San Diego History Center believe that the past illuminates a path forward. We look to our history to learn and to create a future for our community that is respectful and equitable to Black people.

We mourn the horrific deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless others who have fallen at the hands of bigotry, prejudice, racism, and social and economic injustice against Black people. Our region’s past is not perfect. History tells us the first recorded protest in our region was in 1769 when the Kumeyaay rose up against the Spanish. Then, just as now, the outcry reflects ongoing suffering, something that as a community we need to hear and act upon to create a more equitable society.

As a community resource the San Diego History Center is:  

Expanding History Happening Now: Share Your Story to collect stories from San Diegans who wish to share their own experiences with police violence and civil rights activism.

Developing a virtual exhibition series History Happening Now: Protest & Power, demonstrating San Diego’s history of civic activism through protest.

Introducing two new exhibitions in Spring 2021, reflecting San Diego’s African American experience. The first, Nathan Harrison: Born a Slave, Died a San Diego Legend, is an in-depth look at one Black pioneer who thrived by strategically embedding himself and gaining acceptance within the very society that was so treacherous for other contemporary minorities. The second, Celebrate San Diego: African American History & Heritage will provide unique critical glimpses into the lives of African American community members who settled in San Diego from the Spanish colonial era to today.

Finally, we welcome dialogue and discourse with San Diego’s Black community. It is through conversation, recognition of milestones in Black American history, such as Juneteenth, and by acknowledging our separate strengths that we come together as a community to build our shared future.


Bill Lawrence
President & CEO
San Diego History Center