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Bridges That Carried Us Over Project

<a href=";showinfo=0">Watch Bridges That Carried Us Over Project: Documenting Black History in the IE YouTube Video</a>



The “Bridges That Carried Us Over Project: Documenting Black History in the IE” is a community-based collaborative initiative aimed at documenting Black history in the Inland Empire.

Founded by Wilmer Amina Carter and Ratibu Jacocks, the “Bridges that Carried Us Over” project was launched in 2007 and led by the Wilmer Amina Carter Foundation. This project was one of the first documentation projects in the area to capture the stories, experiences, and history of the Black community in this 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 more comprehensively capture its history. 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.

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Contribute to the Project

We are seeking photographs, stories, and other materials to help build our collection. We 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).

We’d love to hear from you! If you are interested in contributing to the collection please complete this form or contact us at


Please join us for this virtual event featuring guest speakers Wilmer Amina Carter, Cheryl Brown, John Coleman, and Carolyn Daniels

We invite you to join efforts to preserve local history by bringing your historical photos or documents to scan at one of these Black History Month events:

  • February 19, 2022: Mrs. Moses 100th Birthday Celebration
    • Time: 10:30a – 1: 30p
      Location: 21565 Steele Peak Dr., Perris, CA 92570
  • Postponed: CSUSB Pioneer Breakfast
    • Date: TBD
      Time: TBD
      Location: CSUSB
  • Postponed: New Hope Baptist Mission Auxiliary Celebration of Black History
    • Date: TBD
      Time: TBD
      Location: 1575 W 17th St., San Bernardino, CA 92411

Project Leads

  • Dr. Jennifer Tilton (Associate Professor of Race & Ethnic Studies, University of Redlands)
  • Dr. Marc A. Robinson (Assistant Professor of History, CSUSB)
  • Dr. Catherine Gudis (Associate Professor of History, UC Riverside)
  • Eric Milenkiewicz (University Archivist, CSUSB)

Project Partners & Co-Sponsors

  • 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.
  • CSUSB Department of History
  • CSUSB John M. Pfau Library
  • Black Voice News
  • Congregations Organizing for Prophetic Engagement
  • NexGen United
  • Second Baptist Church of Redlands
  • Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California

Media Coverage

Eric Milenkiewicz, “The Bridges That Carried Us Over: Documenting Black History in California’s Inland Empire,” Archival Outlook, July/August 2022.

"How Students Are Making Sure Black History is Preserved and Celebrated in the Inland Empire,” NBC News 4 Los Angeles, February 21, 2022.

"Episode 55: Bridge That Carried Us Over – Marc Robinson,” SoCal Voices Podcast, February 17, 2022.

"Project documenting Black history in the IE seeks community contributions,” Inside CSUSB, February 17, 2022.

"Black history project seeks old photos from Inland Empire,” The Press-Enterprise, February 16, 2022.

Romaine Washington, "Project Aims to Preserve Black History in the Inland Empire," San Bernardino Sun, February 5, 2022.

“February 3: Lifestyles with Lillian Vasquez,” Empire KVCR, February 3, 2022.

“Program Celebrating Archive that Documents Black history in the IE is Set for Jan. 29,” Inside CSUSB, January 24, 2022.

Eric Milenkiewicz, “Bridges That Carried Us Over Project: Documenting Black History in the Inland Empire,” Peacock (John M. Pfau Library Newsletter), Spring 2022.

“CSUSB Library to Work on Project that Documents African American Contributions in IE,” Inside CSUSB, February 25, 2021.

Breanna Reeves, “The Bridges that Carried Us Over,” The I.E. Voice, September 12, 2021.

“The Voice: An Oral Black History Project is Relaunched by a Local University and Students,” Empire KVCR, September 23, 2021.