The Bridges That Carried Us Over Project, whose digital archives is part of Cal State San Bernardino’s John M. Pfau Library Special Collection and University Archives, will be at two upcoming events that will allow the community to participate in the ongoing initiative that documents Black history in the Inland Empire.
Project organizers are inviting residents to participate in the effort to preserve local history and to bring historical photos and documents to scan at one of the upcoming events:
- Feb. 19: Mrs. Moses’ 100th Birthday Celebration, from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., 21565 Steele Peak Drive, Perris; and
- Feb. 27: New Hope Baptist Mission Auxiliary Celebration of Black History, time to be announced, 1575 W. 15th St., San Bernardino.
Launched in 2007 by Wilmer Amina Carter and Ratibu Jacocks, and led by the Wilmer Amina Carter Foundation, the Bridges That Carried Us Over Project was one of the first documentation efforts in the area to capture the stories, experiences, and history of the Black community in the inland region. Carter, along with a team of volunteers, met with the region’s Black pioneers and leaders who contributed significantly to its development, conducting and recording oral history interviews over several years to help diversify the historical record and highlight the rich cultural legacy of the Black community in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
The initiative was revitalized in 2020 and continues to capture the stories and experiences of the Inland Empire’s Black community through oral history interviews. The scope for the refreshed project has been expanded to further engage the Inland Empire’s Black community in an effort to capture its history more comprehensively.
Project efforts are now also focused on the identification and preservation of historical collections that reside in the community as well as on the creation of a community-centered, participatory digital archive of primary source materials.
Project organizers are seeking photographs, stories, and other materials to help build the collection. They are especially interested in photographs and related materials that capture civil rights organizations and protests, Black churches, businesses and social organizations (e.g., Masons, clubs), and historic neighborhoods (e.g., Mead Valley, eastside Riverside, westside San Bernardino, Stuart Street in Redlands).
Project partners and co-sponsors include the Wilmer Amina Carter Foundation, University of Redlands Program in Race and Ethnic Studies, Relevancy & History Project partnership between University of California’s Public History Program and California State Parks, the CSUSB Department of History, the John M. Pfau Library, Black Voice News, Congregations Organizing for Prophetic Engagement, NexGen United, the Second Baptist Church of Redlands, and the Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California.
For more information, contact Marc Robinson, CSUSB assistant professor of history, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (909) 537-5528.