Local author and historian Jan Batiste Adkins will explore “The History of African Americans in Santa Clara County from 1780 to Present Day” in a Zoom event scheduled 5 p.m. Feb. 24, hosted by the Los Altos History Museum.
Through photographs and untold stories of African-American pioneers of the local region, Adkins will present research from her latest book, “African Americans of San Jose and Santa Clara County,” followed by a Q&A session. In honor of Black History Month, the program commemorates the contributions of black visionaries in the Bay Area, beginning with people of African descent who arrived in San Jose with the Spaniards in 1777 to help establish the agricultural settlement of El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe.
“I want people to understand the extent of participation by people of African descent who established viable communities, churches, businesses and schools, interacting with other communities as far south as Monterey and east to Sacramento,” Adkins said. “In my talk, I’ll discuss these early visionaries; what it meant for families brought as slaves to what was considered the free state of California; the creation of Black schools and how they became desegregated; the importance of the Black church even to the present day; the abolitionist movement in San Jose; and issues that Blacks encountered in education, technology and government.”
Adkins is also the author of “African Americans of San Francisco” and “African Americans of Monterey County,” both published by Arcadia Publishing Co. She earned a master’s in comparative literature from San Jose State University and a bachelor’s from the University of Oregon. She is an adjunct faculty member and lecturer at San Jose City College, where she teaches English composition, creative writing and literature. Since publishing her research, she has lectured widely on the topic of African-American pioneers and leaders of Bay Area communities.
Admission is free and open to all.
For the Zoom link, visit losaltoshistory.org/HistoryofAfricanAmericansinSCC.