Photographers Harry Adams (1918–1988), Charles Williams (1908–1986), and Guy Crowder (1940–2011) were prominent members of the African American community in Southern California. Spanning 50 years, their compelling images document the political events as well as the daily life of this community during the second half of the twentieth century.

Adams, Crowder, and Williams worked primarily as freelancers for such publications as the Los Angeles Sentinel, California Eagle, Los Angeles Times, and the LA Metropolitan Gazette. Working during one of the most critical periods in the United States for the advancement of African American civil rights, their subjects were the newsmakers of the day—politicians, activists, entertainers, and athletes—as well as everyday life in churches, garages, cocktail lounges, and schools. Their body of work reflects candid images of a community whose lives were rarely reflected in the wider media, as well as prominent figures such as Muhammad Ali, Sidney Poitier, Malcolm X, and others at key moments in their lives.

Black Life: Images of Resistance and Resilience in Southern California will be on view free to the public in the Museum’s Fleming Sr. Gallery (Gallery 14/15), located off the sculpture court adjacent to Panama 66.

This exhibition has been organized by The San Diego Museum of Art in collaboration with the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Arts and California State University, Northridge. All works have been generously lent from the archive of the Tom & Ethel Bradley Center, California State University, Northridge.

Featured: Harry Adams, Protest Car, Los Angeles, 1962. Photograph, Tom and Ethel Bradley Center, CSUN.