The contributions of African Americans a century apart are celebrated in the “African American Civic Engagement” exhibit at Cal State Fullerton’s Pollak Library.
Memorabilia of the Buffalo Soldiers — African American soldiers of the U.S. Army 9th and 10th Calvary Regiments in the 1860s — make up half the exhibit, presented by the university’s African American Studies Department. Included are a uniform, Winchester rifle, bicycle, photos and sculptures of notable members.
The other half of the exhibit honors successful Titan alumni of the 1960s-1970s, with medals, plaques, books, documentaries and music recordings, as well as QR codes for audio/visual components. Spotlighted is Freddie Maxie’s sparkly black dress from appearances on “Soul Train.”
The exhibit, in the library’s Salz-Pollak Atrium Gallery through Dec. 31, coincides with the launch of a new endowment fund to support African American studies faculty and students.
“I want people to know the achievements and accomplishments of African American students once they left Cal State Fullerton,” said Stan Breckenridge, ’75, a musician, Fulbright scholar and Cal State Fullerton co-chair and lecturer in African American studies.
“If we look at the social climate right now, and the civil unrest that’s going on in this great nation, we need to focus on those things that are positive. We need to help encourage African American students to want to pursue higher education.”
The exhibit features a couple of milestones in the campus’s growth in minority enrollment, such as the New Educational Horizons program, started about 1968 to increase opportunities for minority and financially disadvantaged students to obtain a college education. At the time, there were about 15 black students out of a student body of 9,000. Championed by a couple of students, the program gained more funding. By 1969-70, there were 231 students in NEH, according to the exhibit.
Featured in the exhibit along with…