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2024 EVENTS

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"Black History Tour"
at Evergreen Cemetery
204 No. Evergreen Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90033
Ticket Donation: $20

Our educational tour guides are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about Boyle Heights. They take pride in the community where they were brought up and are committed to giving back. Throughout the tour, they will share their love for Boyle Heights with you and provide valuable insights about the many who remain connected.
One of the remarkable people we will be discussing during the tour is Bridget "Biddy" Mason. She was a former slave, philanthropist, and humanitarian. She was also a founding member of the first African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles in 1872. Her life motto was, "If you hold your hand closed, nothing good can come in. The open hand is blessed, for it gives in abundance, even as it receives." Biddy Mason was one of the first Black women to own land in the city.
During our tour, we will visit several notable gravesites, including those of Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, who appeared on the Jack Benny radio show, Louise Beavers, who played the lead role on the Beulah television show, which was the first TV sitcom to star a black person. We will also see the grave of William Nickerson Jr., who founded and was the first president of Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Co. This was the first African American life insurance company on the West Coast and the largest in California, and James Herman Banning's grave, who, in 1932, became the first African American to fly coast to coast, along with his partner Thomas Cox Allen.

Join us for an unforgettable Black History Tour at Evergreen Cemetery, where you will be transported through time to discover the remarkable story of Bridget “Biddy” Mason. Hear the tale from Jackie Broxton, the President and CEO of the Biddy Mason Charitable Foundation, who is dedicated to supporting current and former foster youth in Los Angeles County. Jackie's passion for history and her community is truly inspiring. She has dedicated her time to a remarkable theatrical project centered around Biddy Mason's conversations with others from that era. Jackie's leadership within the foster care community and involvement in a profound international research project exploring the life of Biddy Mason showcases her commitment to making a positive impact in the lives of others. She takes pride in her role as a mother and grandmother and is constantly reminded of the importance of legacy and the future by her grandsons. Don't miss this opportunity to be inspired by Jackie and the remarkable story of Biddy Mason.
We would like to take this opportunity to introduce our Docent, Andrea Griego is a Boyle Heights native with family roots in the community since 1911 and a passion for local history, archaeology, and fundraising. Andrea is a product of the Los Angeles Unified School District and a graduate of UC Santa Cruz (B.A. Anthropology) and Stanford University (M.A. Anthropology, emphasis in Archaeology). Ms. Griego is a 2010 Sally Casanova Scholar of the California State University's Pre-Doctoral Program. Andrea has participated in archaeological excavations along the northern California coast, a POW WWII site in Canada, and in Maryland at the Wye Plantation and the historic city of Annapolis. She has 14 years' experience as a docent with Las Angelitas del Pueblo, giving tours on the history of the birthplace of Los Angeles, El Pueblo de Los Angeles. For the past nine years, she has pursued a career as a fundraising professional, and for the last six years, she has worked at PUENTE Learning Center in Boyle Heights as a Grants Manager and Senior Grants Officer.
Ms. Griego assisted in the nomination of two Los Angeles sites that became either a historical resource or a historic-cultural monument. In 2012, El Centro Grocery and the Maravilla Handball Court, located in the East Los Angeles community of Maravilla, was placed on the California Register of Historical Resources as the oldest remaining handball court in Los Angeles. In 2022, Otomisan Japanese Restaurant in Boyle Heights achieved Historic-Cultural Monument status by the city of Los Angeles as the city's oldest continuously operating Japanese restaurant



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  • BOBBY ULYSES NUNN JR. One of the original bass vocalist for "The Coasters"
  • BOBBY ULYSES NUNN JR. One of the original bass vocalist for "The Coasters"
  • BRIDGET "BIDDY" MASON . Former slave, nurse/mid wife, successful entrepreneur, humanitarian and founder of Los Angeles's first African-American congregation
  • BRIDGET "BIDDY" MASON. Former slave, nurse/mid wife, successful entrepreneur, humanitarian and founder of Los Angeles's first African-American congregation
  • CHARLES PRICE JONES. Jones was also the composer of over 1,000 Gospel songs, mostly between 1895-1905.
  • CHARLES PRICE JONES. Jones was also the composer of over 1,000 Gospel songs, mostly between 1895-1905.
  • DOROTHY VENA-JOHNSON. For 40 years, she taught in the LAUSD, teaching creative writing to junior high school students, whom she encouraged to write and be published
  • CYRUS VENA
  • FRANK C AVALIER BRAXTON JR. He was involved in producing the comic strip the Peanuts specials. In the same year, he animated the Charlie Brown TV specials.
  • FRANK C AVALIER BRAXTON JR. was involved in producing the comic strip the Peanuts specials. In the same year, he animated the Charlie Brown TV specials
  • JAMES HERMAN BANNING. He was the first African American aviator to fly coast-to-coast and licensed by the US Department of Commerce
  • JAMES HERMAN BANNING. He was the first African American aviator to fly coast-to-coast and licensed by the US Department of Commerce
  • JESSE LORENZO BELVIN. Singer, Songwriter. Jesse Lorenzo Belvin, who co-wrote one of the biggest hits of the 1950's – "Earth Angel," a hit for The Penguins in 1955, is one of the least known or recognized names among the greats of R&B and Soul music. Raised in Los Angeles.
  • JESSING- WITH HIS JO ANN. Singer, Songwriter. Jesse Lorenzo Belvin, who co-wrote one of the biggest hits of the 1950's – "Earth Angel," a hit for The Penguins in 1955, is one of the least known or recognized names among the greats of R&B and Soul music. Raised in Los Angeles.
  • KENNETH STANLEY ROBINSON. professional football player who was the first African American to sign a contract with a NFL team in the modern post-World War II
  • KENNETH STANLEY ROBINSON. professional football player who was the first African American to sign a contract with a NFL team in the modern post-World War II
  • LELA CAMPBELL MURRAY. Social Activist. Lela Murray owned "The only Negro dude ranch in the world. The Overall Wearing Dude Ranch." In operation from the 1920s to the 1940s, the ranch first catered to troubled and ill youngsters.
  • LELA CAMPBELL MURRAY. Social Activist. Lela Murray owned "The only Negro dude ranch in the world. The Overall Wearing Dude Ranch." In operation from the 1920s to the 1940s, the ranch first catered to troubled and ill youngsters.
  • LOUISE ELLEN BEAVERS. Louise Beavers was a breakthrough actress for blacks. Beavers was a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority, one of the four African American sororities. She is interred with her mother in Evergreen Cemetery.
  • LOUISE ELLEN BEAVERS. Louise Beavers was a breakthrough actress for blacks. Beavers was a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority, one of the four African American sororities. She is interred with her mother in Evergreen Cemetery.
  • MATTHEW "STYMIE" BEARD. A popular member of "The Little Rascals", he played 'Stymie' in 1936 "Our Gang" motion picture shorts from 1930 to 1935.
  • MATTHEW "STYMIE" BEARD. A popular member of "The Little Rascals", he played 'Stymie' in 1936 "Our Gang" motion picture shorts from 1930 to 1935.
  • ROCHESTER EDDIE ANDERSON. Anderson entered show business on the vaudeville circuit as a teenager. In the early 1930. An American comedian and actor. To a generation of early radio and television comedy, he was known as "Rochester."
  • ROCHESTER EDDIE ANDERSON. Anderson entered show business on the vaudeville circuit as a teenager. In the early 1930. An American comedian and actor. To a generation of early radio and television comedy, he was known as "Rochester."
  • SAM HASKINS. Firefighter, Social Reformer. He was the first African American Los Angeles Fire Department member to die in the line of duty, being killed when a fire carriage ran over him in route to a blaze.
  • WILLIAM J SEYMOUR. A religious figure, once considered "the most influential black leader in American religious history.” Ms. Biddy Mason founded the First AME (African Methodist Episcopal) church at 312 Azusa Street in Little Tokyo. She sold the property to William Seymour, which became the Azusa Street Mission.
  • WILLIAM J SEYMOUR. A religious figure, once considered "the most influential black leader in American religious history.” Ms. Biddy Mason founded the First AME (African Methodist Episcopal) church at 312 Azusa Street in Little Tokyo. She sold the property to William Seymour, which became the Azusa Street Mission..
  • WILLIAM NICKERSON JR. Nickerson was a pioneer and entrepreneur of Black business in Los Angeles. He was the founder and first president of Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company, the first African American life insurance company on the West Coast and California's largest African American life insurance company.
  • WILLIAM NICKERSON JR. Nickerson was a pioneer and entrepreneur of Black business in Los Angeles. He was the founder and first president of Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company, the first African American life insurance company on the West Coast and California's largest African American life insurance company.
Thank you for considering a ticket donation to support our public tours. Your contribution helps cover the permits required to host these tours, which are costly and crucial in sharing our community's history. Our tours are not only informative but also serve as an opportunity for us to share the stories that make our community unique.
We are grateful for your generosity and thank you in advance for your tax-deductible contribution.

Join us in honoring those who have been forgotten or overlooked. Let's celebrate their stories and contributions to our society. Together, we can bring attention to their voices and ensure they are not left behind.

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Please note that the date for this event may change, but it will still take place.

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We look forward to celebrating Chico Sesma Orchestra. Legendary radio personality Chico Sesma. Chico began his radio career in 1949 on KDAY, where he pioneered a new innovative bilingual broadcasting style. He was also a trombone player in the Jazz Big Band Era. Chico Sesma was the first in Los Angeles to spin what we now call salsa music.
Chico attended Hollenbeck Jr. High School and was also in the band at Roosevelt High School.
Here are two tunes to listen to.
Chico Sesma and his Orchestra "Cha Cha Bounce, 1959
Lalo Guerrero with the Chico Sesma Orchestra
Lalo Guerrero with the Chico Sesman Orchesta-dime Quien Te Dijo

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Boyle Heights Community Partners is a California 501(c)(3) Nonprofit #32-0628921
Please help to protect and preserve our cultural heritage in Boyle Heights by making your Tax Deductible Donation TODAY.