Monday, September 21, 2009

Central Avenue and Beyond: The Harlem Renaissance in Los Angeles

Oh yes, it is about time! Here is a new exhibit at the Huntington in collaboration with an organization I've known about for a few years now, the Mayme A. Clayton Library and soon-to-be museum. Their mission is to collect, preserve; exhibit and celebrate the unique history and cultural heritage of Americans of African descent and thereby help to provide a more complete view of American history. Mayme's son, Avery, has led the effort to realize this dream of opening up a museum. The collection is vast and contains unique items that will most-definitely enrich our lives. When is the last time there was a retrospective on the west coast African American Renaissance? It wasn't Harlem, but it was Central Avenue. I can't wait to hear about the music and night life that went on back in those days. The art and literature I would assume laid the foundation for a lot of what we see now. It will be fun making those connections. Save the date. The exhibit opens October 24. Admission to the Huntington is $15 but free day is the first Thursday of every month with advance tickets. Hours on Free Day are 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.Parking is free. Read the ABC News article about Avery and his mother here:

Central Avenue and Beyond: The Harlem Renaissance in Los Angeles 

October 24, 2009- January 4, 2010 Now Extended through February 8, 2010
Exhibit displays materials from the Mayme A. Clayton collection for the first time

African American arts and culture exploded in early 20th century America, and the Harlem neighborhood of New York City was Ground Zero. Not as well known is what played out in Los Angeles at the same time—a flowering of African American arts, literature, and culture along Central Avenue. A new exhibition at The Huntington explores the Harlem Renaissance in Los Angeles, drawing on materials from The Huntington as well as items from the Mayme A. Clayton Library, which never before have been on public display. Among the more than 50 items exhibited are original manuscripts by poet Langston Hughes; photographs from the First Negro Classic Ballet, founded in Los Angeles in 1946; and rare editions of California-based African American periodicals such as the California Eagle and Flash magazine. Also featured are movie posters for black Hollywood films—such as The Exile, written and directed by Oscar Micheaux, and The Bronze Venus, starring Lena Horne; photos of jazz clubs from the period; and correspondence from W. E. B. DuBois and L.A. composer William Grant Still, among others.

The Mayme Clayton Library & Museum will serve as the first major West Coast African American research center; a repository for endangered African American collections in the 11 Western States; a museum for contemporary art; and a media center for film and live performances. The Mayme Clayton Library & Museum will stand as a shining international symbol of American pride, intelligence, creativity and nobility as it enthusiastically welcomes the world community.

For more information, please contact the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum at (310) 202-1647 or e-mail: MCLM 4130 Overland Avenue, Culver City, California 90230,

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