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South Central: Then and Now

Joint Auto Club/CAAM Exhibit Shows the Evolution of a Neighborhood

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 11/01/06 -- South Central Los Angeles is often portrayed negatively in the media and popular culture. A new photography exhibit, "Intersections of South Central: People and Places in Historic and Contemporary Photography," which opens at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles on November 16th, goes beyond myth and misunderstanding to show a vibrant neighborhood which is truly a community. The exhibit, which covers 70 years of life in South Central, is sponsored by the Automobile Club of Southern California. The exhibit will run through March 4, 2007.

Seven prominent African-American photographers were commissioned to take modern day photographs duplicating or complementing historic black and white photographs from the Auto Club archives and other collections.

"The photographers knit a multi-generational experience through images of well-known intersections such as Florence and Central and Central and 112th, churches, factories, store fronts, street corners, front yards, pool halls and schools that challenge perceptions of the area," said Historian Matthew Roth of the Auto Club's Corporate Archives and the exhibit's co-curator.

"The exhibit's use of old and new photographs combine to provide an insightful benchmark into the everyday life, the changes and the commerce of a community that is much more than infamous gang violence," said Christopher Jimenez y West, history curator of the California African American Museum. "South Central is much more than the place wracked by riots in 1965 and 1992. It's a place with real people and lives, real geography, boulevards, subdivisions and manufacturing."

The seven photographers who spent more than three months chronicling the 21st Century experience of South Central residents include:

--  Haywood Galbreath, Executive Director, Minority Photo/Journalism
    Institute. Also owner of H.G. Star Company, the first African-American
    owned news photo service to record the Emmys from inside the auditorium.

--  Frank Jackson, an artist who specializes in black and white images.

--  The Associated Press, Los Angeles Bureau, Photo Editor Kim Johnson

--  Akili-Casundria Ramsess, San Jose Mercury News Deputy Director of

--  Bruce Talamon, only photojournalist allowed to tour with Reggae legend
    Bob Marley; and unit photographer for dozens of movies including Blade,
    Harlem Nights, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

--  Lester Sloan, owner, Lester Sloan Media Group, first African American
    staff photographer for Newsweek.

--  D Stevens, award-winning photojournalist and still photographer for
    major motion pictures. He's photographed war and conflict in Belfast and
    Beirut and documented films such as Boyz 'N the Hood and Devil in a Blue

Over the course of their careers, these prominent photographers have worked as White House pool photographers, produced photo essays for Time and Newsweek and other magazines, in addition to The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution on youth violence, crack babies, African-Americans in Paris, and the streets of London after last year's bombings.

The black and white vintage location photographs were culled from the Automobile Club of Southern California Archives, the Los Angeles Unified School District photo collection, the Harry Adams Jr. Collection at Cal State Northridge and the Huntington Library.

The California African American Museum is located at 600 State Drive in Exposition Park and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free and parking is $6. The museum is handicapped accessible throughout. The museum will be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest member of the AAA federation of motor clubs, has been providing service since 1900. Today, the Auto Club's members benefit by roadside assistance, insurance products and services, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing and buying programs, automotive testing and analysis, trip planning services and highway and transportation safety programs. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club's Web site at

Carol Thorp/Elaine Beno

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