Roundtable: It was a Bloody Mess: Vallejo's 1942 race revolts and the Port Chicago strike

November 15th
Lewis Latimer Room, Faculty Club
12 PM

Led by Javier Arbona, PhD candidate in the UC Berkeley Department of Geography and Bancroft Study Award Recipient

The final Bancroft Round Table of  the Fall 2012 Semester will take place on Thursday, November 15th at noon in the Lewis-Latimer Room of  the Faculty Club.

This talk offers a history of a little-known chapter of the World War II home front, the 1942 "race riots" in Vallejo, California, and efforts to record these so-called riots in art and writing. This episode is significant because, among other reasons, it exposes some of the underlying conditions for the Port Chicago sailors' strike at the same Vallejo barracks, and shows a larger pattern that set the stage for the 1944 mutiny trial against African American sailor-strikers under the same naval command.

The Port Chicago explosion is considered the worst home front disaster during World War II. On July 17, 1944, over 5,000 tons of munitions detonated while a ship was being loaded at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine, near Martinez. 320 enlisted personnel and civilian employees were instantly killed, and 390 were injured. Most of those who died were African American sailors loading bombs under segregation. The site is marked with U.S. National Park and Federal Memorial.

Learning about racial tensions that flared two years before this tragedy will help us grasp a context missing in popular understanding of the African American work stoppage that ensued after the explosion.

Bancroft Round Tables aim to highlight the myriad resources of The Bancroft Library in helping historical research. The community is welcome to join us at what promises to be an eye-opening presentation.

Nov 07, 2012 | Categories: Events | Titangos

Class Acts and Co-op Alumni: Jack Rosston and Kenji Sayama

October 18, 2012 - January 2013
The Bancroft Library Reading Room Exhibit Cases
Open during the operating hours of the Bancroft Reading Room

The University of California, Berkeley, Class of 1942 boasts at least two distinguished members with connections to The Bancroft Library. We shine the spotlight on John (Jack) Rosston and Dr. Kenji Sayama, as they celebrate their 70th reunion.

John (Jack) Rosston
To pay for transportation from his home in San Francisco to UC Berkeley during his freshman year, Jack Rosston held a number of jobs offered by the National Youth Administration, a New Deal agency. As a sophomore, he was able to move into Sheridan Hall, part of the UC cooperative system, where he stayed until 1942. (Sheridan closed in 1943, due to a shortage of men during World War II. The structure, now a fraternity house, still stands on the northwest corner of Piedmont Avenue and Dwight Way.) Even while working part-time, Rosston managed to participate heavily in campus activities. He spent two years each on the staff of the California Engineer, the Elections Board, and the Housing Board, to name a few. After graduating with a B.S. in agriculture, Rosston went on to attend the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

As a Cal alumnus, Rosston has continued to be just as active, if not more so. In 1980-1981, he served as an ex-officio member of the UC Board of Regents while president of the California Alumni Association. He is a major advocate of the UC Berkeley Library. Besides being a founder and past president of the Library Advisory Board, he has served a chair of The Bancroft Library Council of the Friends. He also conducted and donated an oral history interview that is now part of The Bancroft Library's holdings. Not having forgotten his roots as a co-op member, Rosston remains involved with the Berkeley Student Cooperative Alumni Association.

Dr. Kenji Sayama
Kenji Sayama spent his childhood in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. After high school, he first enrolled at Los Angeles City College, but decided to transfer to UC Berkeley for his sophomore year. His Boy Scout troop leader was himself a Cal graduate, and having learned of Sayama's interest in medicine, encouraged him to apply. Sayama made the trek up north and by junior year, had settled into Atherton House, a UC co-op house that was on Atherton Street. One of his roommates was William C. Rockwell, who was the first to play Oski, the Cal mascot. During his senior year in December 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred, followed by the US entrance into World War II. In February 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized the military to relocate people of Japanese ancestry to internment camps. Although not yet identified for detention, Sayama decided to leave Cal and return home to Los Angeles in March 1942. He was just weeks shy of graduation, but fortunately was granted his diploma on the basis of his mid-term grades. He received it at the Santa Anita Assembly Center, where his family had been detained temporarily. The Sayama family would then be sent to the Rohwer War Relocation Center in Arkansas While there, Sayama taught eighth-grade science. He was able to leave the camp by enlisting in the US Army. He served four years in the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service, receiving training in the US and interpreting for the police system in Japan.

After his discharge in 1947, Sayama enrolled once again at Cal, under the GI Bill. He earned a master's degree in 1950, followed by a Ph.D. in zoology in 1953. In 1957, he was appointed chief laboratory technologist in a lab owned by the Downey, California-based Gallatin Medical Group, and worked there until 1996. He also established the Centro Analytical Medical Laboratory with another Cal alumnus in 1969 and was its director of laboratory operations until 1997. UC Berkeley held a special convocation in 1992 to honor the Nisei members of the class of 1942. Wearing cap and gown, Sayama received his diploma from classmate Jack Rosston. In November 2011, a major national honor was bestowed upon him, when he and dozens of other Japanese-American World War II veterans received Congressional Medals of Honor in Washington, DC, one of the country's highest civilian honors. In early 2012, Sayama donated his medal and its accompanying documentation to The Bancroft Library, which also houses an oral history interview with him, conducted by N. H. (Dan) Cheatham.

Oct 19, 2012 | Categories: Exhibits | Titangos

Roundtable: What's in the News? A look at the Fang Family SF Examiner photographic negative collection

October 18th
Lewis Latimer Room, Faculty Club
12 PM

Led by Lori Hines, Bancroft Pictorial Processing Archivist

Six years ago The Bancroft received a gift of the San Francisco Examiner photographic archive.  Work is still ongoing in the effort to preserve, organize and make available (both digitally and in person) this rich archive of photographs documenting twentieth century San Francisco and more.  Pictorial Processing Archivist Lori Hines will present a slideshow and talk on trends in journalism, culture, and history she observed while sorting, re-housing, and describing the collection of 3.6 million negatives from ca. 1930-2000.  Please note: Some images shown might be shocking or considered offensive.

Bancroft, blessed with the photographic "morgues" of both the San Francisco News-Call Bulletin and the Examiner, offers a gold mine of images of Bay Area history.  The Examiner materials, samples of which can be found on a Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/SF.Examiner.Archive, are increasingly sought after by all manner of researchers. 

The entire community is welcome to join us and see some memorable images and hear Ms. Hines's thoughtful observations.  Bancroft Round Tables aim to showcase the extensive and varied collections of our library.

Oct 11, 2012 | Categories: Events | Titangos

Bancroft Events at Homecoming Weekend, October 5th - 7th

Keeping the Past Alive with Oral History
Located in the Morrison Library (inside the Doe Library)

10/5, Friday, 3 pm - 4:30 pm

What did an alumna from the Class of 1895 recall about college nearly 70 years later? How have some of Berkeley's earliest African American faculty characterized their experiences on campus? What did a key campus administrator in the 1950s and 1960s think about the complex issues, events, and people that led to the Free Speech Movement? The answers to these fascinating questions are contained within the Regional Oral History Office's (ROHO) vast collections on the history of the University of California and its impact on our world. Join ROHO staff to hear interview highlights and tips for documenting your own memories. You will also have the opportunity to record your own recollections about the University for inclusion in the collection.


Fiat Lux Redux Exhibit
Located in The Bancroft Library Gallery

10/5, Friday, 10 am - 4 pm, Gallery Talks at 11 am & 2 pm
10/6, Saturday, 10 am - 3 pm

In 1964, University of California President Clark Kerr commissioned photographer Ansel Adams and writer Nancy Newhall to create a commemorative book on the University's centennial in 1968. The result, Fiat Lux ("Let there be light"), contains more than 6,000 photos capturing the spirit and growth of the University's nine campuses at that time. This fall, Berkeley is undertaking an ambitious campuswide program of classes, exhibits, events, and more that bring these photos to light once again and invite everyone to contemplate the University's prolific past and future prospects, especially during this difficult time. See dozens of signed fine prints in the exhibition Fiat Lux Redux: Ansel Adams and Clark Kerr, and learn about how they fit into the vision for public higher education in California. Curator Jack Von Euw will discuss the exhibit on Friday at 11 am and 2 pm.


The Magnes Collection Open House
Located at 2121 Allston Way, Downtown Berkeley

10/6, Saturday, 12 pm - 4 pm
10/7, Sunday, 12 pm - 4 pm

One of the preeminent Jewish collections in the world, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life opened its new 25,000-square-foot home in downtown Berkeley last January. Join this open house to enjoy musical performances and curator-led tours of four new exhibitions, including prints and photographs by well-loved artists such as Marc Chagall and Neil Foldberg; a look at the Jewish fascination with list-making and inventories; art illustrating key 20th-century historial moments; and posters that offer a unique perspective on the renaissance of Jewish culture in Europe since the early 1980s.

Oct 01, 2012 | Categories: Events | Titangos

New Exhibit and Opening Reception: Fiat Lux Redux

September 27, 2012 - February 28, 2013
The Bancroft Gallery
10AM - 4PM, Monday - Friday

Featuring original prints by legendary photographer Ansel Adams, this is an exhibition of rarely-seen images of the University of California System in the 1960s. The images ? commissioned by former UC President Clark Kerr, and published in the 1967 book Fiat Lux which celebrated the educational system's centennial ? offer a rarely seen look at the evolution of the renowned University of California system through the eye of a master photographer best known for his iconic California landscapes. The exhibition also showcases related archival materials about the controversial Kerr himself, and the evolution of his ideas and ideals.

This exhibit accompanies On the Same Page, a program designed to give new UC Berkeley students a theme to talk about. Please visit http://onthesamepage.berkeley.edu to see other associated campus events and activities.

The opening reception will be held on September 27th, 5 - 7 pm.  All are invited to attend.

For further info on the exhibit, please visit http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/Exhibits/onexhibit.html#fiatlux

Visit the companion online exhibit:
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/omeka/exhibits/show/fiat-lux/

Sep 24, 2012 | Categories: Exhibits, Events | Titangos

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