Mapping a People’s History: diverse stories of the Inland Empire uses Story maps to try show the diversity of people who built our communities. This project will help bring to life the everyday places of the past, the people of color who built thriving communities and businesses in the Inland Empire, while we also explore the ways racism shaped the communities we live in today.
The first StoryMaps highlight the stories of the early black community in Redlands and San Bernardino, the vibrant Mexican community in Redlands from the early 20th century through the 1960s, and some of the struggles for racial justice in these communities. We used oral histories, an early 20th century Redlands black newspaper, archival materials from public libraries, and individual records from the 1910 census to build a database and maps of the everyday people and places that built a community in the Inland Empire.
Here we share our first published maps. More will be published through the summer.
This project lifts up the work of community scholars, historians, and news outlets who have worked for decades to tell the rich histories of black and Mexican communities in the IE. Key partners include Antonio Gonzalez Vasquez of Casas de Culturas, Black Voice’s Mapping California Project, and Frank E. Taylor’s 1900 in Black.
These scholars know that the ways we tell stories of the past shape our sense of community and our commitment to inclusion in the present. This project feels particularly urgent right now because it is exactly our ideas about race, space, community, and belonging that have produced the problems of heavy-handed policing, death, and the rage that lead us over and over to where we find ourselves today again in America.
We plan to develop more StoryMaps that explore the ways our communities and patterns of segregation changed over time and to create curriculum resources for teachers that will help generations of students learn a more diverse and empowering history.