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Harlem of the West Book Discussion

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2018 GraduationMay 5th, 2018
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Lewis Watts and Elizabeth Pepin Silva
Wednesday February 11, 2015
Gellert Library
Please join us in the Gellert Library to hear Lewis Watts and Elizabeth Pepin Silva discuss their book Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Jazz Era.
“Although it has been commemorated in songs, poems, and in Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, few people today know of the rich history of the Fillmore and its musical legacy because it vanished abruptly and so thoroughly due to redevelopment in the 1960s. Through dozens of archival photographs and oral accounts from the neighborhood residents and musicians who experienced it at its height, Harlem of the West celebrates this unique and rediscovered chapter in jazz history and the African-American experience on the West Coast.”-
Elizabeth Pepin Silva is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker. Her interest in the Fillmore started when she was hired as Historian and Day Manager of the Fillmore Auditorium by Bill Graham Presents in 1986. Her short booklet on the history of the Fillmore Auditorium for Graham began her research into the Fillmore and its jazz scene. Pepin has written about the neighborhood for magazines and newspapers, and was historian and writer for the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s Fillmore Sidewalk and Plaza Project, as well as the Fillmore Center’s Fillmore Historical Panel Project. Elizabeth’s photographs have been exhibited in museums and galleries including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the San Jose Museum. Elizabeth has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism from San Francisco State University.
Lewis Watts is a photographer and professor of art at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a long-standing interest in African American history in the Bay Area and nationally. His parents’ southern background enlightens much of his research into the “great migration from the rural South to the urban North.” Lewis began photographing the Fillmore in the early 1990s, and put together the archival photographs for the Fillmore Center’s Fillmore Historical Panel Project. Lewis’s photographs are part of the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Oakland Museum of California, Light Work of Syracuse, New York, The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. He holds his BA in Political Science and his MA in Photography and Design from the University of California, Berkeley.
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