During Black History Month, the Black Family Affinity Group put their heads together to think of activities they could offer the Poly community. Though Pasadena has deep roots in Black history, many are not familiar with its legacy. The group decided on hosting an event dedicated to the history of African Americans in Pasadena and their impacts and contributions. The group decided to coordinate a group to participate in the Pasadena NAACP’s Black Pasadena Walking tour and invited K-12 students, families, faculty, and staff to join and learn about the community’s important history.
Originally conceived as a bus tour, the Pasadena NAACP created the walking tour with 14 historic sites around the city led by President Allen Edson centering on individuals and events of significance to the African American Community, which also provides Pasadena with its rich history. Pasadena’s NAACP chapter is the first official chapter west of the Mississippi.
The tour included important highlights including the Jackie Robinson statute at the Rose Bowl and Doctor’s Row, where many African American doctors resided. The tour also discussed the displacement of Black residents by the construction of the 210 freeway and the city’s history of segregation at the Brookside Plunge where Black families and People of Color were only permitted to swim on certain days, and the pool would be drained and cleaned thereafter. Following a successful 1939 lawsuit backed by the NAACP, the pool reopened after WWII and was accessible to all swimmers.
“A lot of it was being together as a group and fellowshiping, especially for the younger kids with the older Black students who they don’t get to hang out with,” said Tara Newman, Poly parent and leader of the Black Family Affinity Group. “Everyone came interested in learning more about the contributions of Black people to the city of Pasadena, the importance of the long legacy of Black people in Pasadena, and the efforts of Black citizens to ensure fair and equal treatment for all members of the Pasadena community.”