"Story of four panels"
Here is all the text on all four of the panels for the project.
It was written by Mooney Jones and Stokes, Stacey Jordan, and excerpted
from their "entre City Development Corporation Downtown San Diego
People of African decent were present in San Diego as early as the establishment of Presidio de San Diego in 1769, and played a role in settling the area now known as Old Town.
Spanish settlers were an early example of diversity; they included persons of African heritage as well as Afro-Cubans, West Indians, and Haitians from the Spanish colonies. The last Mexican-era Governor of Alta California was Pio Pico, a man of African, Hispanic, Native American, and Italian descent who played a major role in San Diego's history.
In the later decades of the 1800s, African-Americans began emigrating to Horton New Town, San Diego's present-day downtown, relocating primarily from the southern US.
Religious institutions were, and continue to be a cornerstone of the African-American community. In 1887, the African Methodist Episcopal Church became the first organized African-American congregation in downtown San Diego, followed soon after by Calvary Baptist and Bethel AME. At the same time, African-American social and civic groups like the Violet Club, Acme Social Club and Fidelity Lodge #10 of the Prince Hall Masons became important organizations in the community.
San Diego was once the center of a thriving jazz, blues, and gospel music scene. The Creole Palace at the Douglas Hotel and the Crossroads Jazz Club were just tow of the spots that hosted local and national talent playing to mixed audiences.
The outstanding feature is the New Douglas Hotel Building. Built in November 1924, by Geo. A. Ramose and the late Robert Rowe, representing an expenditure of $100,000.00, which stands as a monument to the enterprise of the colored people of the city. This hotel is owned and controlled by members of the race.? 1925-26 Colored People (Revised) Business Directory
African-Americans have always played a major role in amateur and professional sports in San Diego. Local favorite TTOM: Archie Moorefought at the city Coliseum as did other champions. San Diegan John Ritchey became the first black player in the Pacific Coast League when he was signed as a catcher to the then minor league padres in 1948.
The entrepreneurial sprit of the African-American community flourished through the 20th century with doctor offices, hotels and clubs, barbers and beauty parlors, cafes and restaurants, ice cream parlors, laundries, jewelers and pool halls that served the African American community as well as other San Diegans.
During World War II, African-american stunt pilot and businessman Howard kippy?Smith owned the Pacific parachute Company factory on 8th Avenue. Named the Top Black Owned Business in the United States in 1943, Mr. Smith operated an integrated work place that reflected the ethnic and racial diversity of wartime San Diego.
On this block of J Street, African-American Lillian Grant owned multiple buildings, offering rooms to an ethnically mixed clientele during the time of segregation. Next door at the corner of 14th and J Streets sat the Vine/Carter Hotels. Known as a olored?hotels, it was owned and operated by African-Americans Alonzo and Katie Carter from the 1930?to the 1950?
Residents of the J Street neighborhood could patronize many local African American businesses. The Whithubbard hair Salon and Raphael Beauty Shop offered specialized hair treatments. The Gem Cafe offered eals at All Hours- Sandwiches of All Kinds?and Gadson Confectionary and Toilet Store supplied residents with candy, soft drinks, and personal goods. Rose park between 11th, 12th, Island and J Streets attracted children and adults of all ethnic and economic classes.
African-American hairdressers specialized in hair care techniques like marcel waving and Poro treatments specifically developed for African-American hair. Their skills and the tools they used helped shape fashion trends for African-American women in the 1920?and 1930s.