RIVERSIDE, Calif.—A powerful retrospective that spotlights a century of struggles and achievements of Black Inland communities will be unveiled at the opening of the new Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California (CRIISC) on Saturday, October 22, 2022.
“Still I Rise: The Black IE Fight for Justice” is an immersive exhibition of curated and scaled images, historical archives and personal stories. Show materials span the story of the period from the late 1800s, when Klan terror and Jim Crow drove thousands of Black people from the Deep South to California, where they fought discrimination to create better opportunities for themselves and their families.
“The exhibition is a testament to the bold and business-minded Blacks, the Black press, the Black church, Black leaders, and everyday people who fought to thrive in the face of fierce adversity and systemic racism,” said Rose Mayes, Vice President of the CRIISC Board of Directors and Executive Director of the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County.
“Our fight continues. CRIISC is dedicated to bringing exhibitions and education to our communities that inspire inclusiveness and root out the racist beliefs and structures that remain pervasive in our society and institutions,” she said.
“Still I Rise,” curated by Dr. H. Vincent Moses with assistance from the Riverside African American Historical Society, is part of CRIISC’s public opening celebration on October 22. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the program begins at 5:30 p.m. at 3933 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside. The free festivities will include food trucks, entertainment and building tours.
Dr. Tommie Smith, the Olympic gold medalist whose raised fist of protest at the 1968 Mexico games made him an international civil rights icon, will be the keynote speaker. He will sign copies of his new graphic memoir, “Victory! Stand. Raising my Fist for Justice.” The book is available for pre-order at Cellar Door Books in Riverside.
CRIISC is the centerpiece of the new, five-story Mission Heritage Plaza, a partnership of the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, Wakeland Housing Development Corporation and the Civil Rights institute of Inland Southern California. The mixed-use project includes 72 units of affordable workforce housing, a new home for the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, and the new CRIISC exhibition space. CRIISC will host cultural and social history exhibitions, an oral history recording studio and digital archives, and space for educational programs and performances.