African Americans of Monterey County – Discussion and Book Signing

31 January, 2015 – 3pm-5pm: We’re super excited to have Jan Batiste Adkins, author of African Americans of San Francisco, come to Old Capitol Books to discuss her latest work: African Americans of Monterey County.

3260AFRIcvr.inddThe newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series is African Americans of Monterey County from local author Jan Batiste Adkins. The book boasts more than 200 vintage images and memories from the unique Californian African American heritage.

People of African heritage have traveled to Monterey since the 1770s, when African Spaniard Alexo Nino, a ship’s caulker, traveled with Fr. Junipero Serra to Monterey via the San Antonio. For centuries since Nino, black men and women migrated to the Monterey Bay area in search of a new life. In the 20th century, some African Americans established businesses, bought homes, and encouraged family members and friends to settle in Monterey County. Others pursued military careers. Out of these communities came churches, schools, service organizations, and social groups. For the next century, the history of Monterey County’s African American communities have mirrored the nation’s slow progress toward integration with triumphs and setbacks that have been captured in images of employment opportunities, churches, business successes, and political struggles.

Dr. Martin Luther King in Seaside, 1961 Image Courtesy of the City of Seaside Archives

Highlights include:

  • A portion of book sale profits will be donated to the local After School Program.
  • The book includes early nineteenth century local black heroes who contributed to Old Monterey.
  • The majority of the images have been donated from private collections of local residents.
  • Local librarians and archivist supported the research for this book.
  • This book documents the role of the buffalo soldiers at the Presidio during the early 1900s.
  • The 54th Coast Artillery, an all black Army unit, is documented in the second chapter.
  • Heroes such as Langston Hughes and Jesse Stahl are included in the second chapter.
  • Photographs of several Tuskegee Airmen of the 99th Fighter Squadron who settled in Seaside and Monterey are featured in chapter four.
  • Photographs of the Cooper and Tebo families of Salinas are featured in the second chapter.
  • Photographs of The Walker family one of Pacific Grove’s early black families, who met on the day of the San Francisco earthquake in Salinas are featured in chapter 2.
  • The past Adjutant General for California National Guard, Maj. Gen. Mary Kight of Monterey is included in chapter 5.
  • Many local heroes of Salinas, Seaside, Monterey, and Pacific Grove are featured throughout this book.

Author Bio:

Jan Batiste Adkins, an educator, lecturer, and author of African Americans of San Francisco, has spent the last several years researching the African American experience in the Bay Area. This book documents the successes of African Americans and encourages schoolchildren and adults to read about their local history. It celebrates the rich African American experience as seen in photographs from area archives, museums, local newspapers, historical societies, libraries, and family oral histories.

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