LOS ANGELES – June is Black Music Month, but this year is also the first time June 16 has been celebrated as a federal holiday.

A South Los Angeles curator has compiled more than 100 images, memorabilia and documents to honor civil rights, black writers, inventors, musicians and more to commemorate the two.

What would you like to know

  • June is Black Music Month and also marks the first time Juneteenth has been celebrated as a federal holiday.
  • To commemorate the two, a South LA curator has compiled over 100 photos, memorabilia and documents to commemorate civil rights, black writers and more
  • Black culture meets African art at exhibition in Leimert Park, said curator Albert Lord
  • The exhibition is presented along Boulevard Degnan and 43rd Street in Leimert Park until the end of July

The exhibit is where black culture meets African art in Leimert Park, said curator Albert Lord pointing to the vast collection of historical artifacts.

“This is the only public display of the Emancipation Proclamation in Southern California,” Lord said.

Lord works as the vice president of government relations and arts programs at Community Build, a South LA resource center where he produced the exhibit.

But Lord’s experience is actually in entertainment. He showed a photo that is part of an exhibit of him with famous musician Little Richard at one of Lord’s first concerts as the first black production manager of a San Francisco radio station, where Lord fell in love with black music. This is what motivated him to present the stories of an entire wall filled with pioneering black artists.

“No one has done more to uplift or energize the music industry than their brother Stevie Wonder,” Lord said, pointing to Wonder’s photo on the wall.

But Lord explained that he was only able to land the radio job because of affirmative action because he could pass for white. Historically, it is a case of discrimination against blacks that Lord details in the exhibit and which he believes is still widespread to this day.

“We are still going through the same crisis,” he said. “Right now, we must fight against the suppression of the vote, which was at the heart of the freedom black people had then obtained as a result of the 15th Amendment, when men were granted the right to vote.”

These are lessons that a future black voter is learning for the first time. Jarius Hawthorne, 11, recently visited the exhibit with his twin on a field trip. Jarius noted that it is important for him to see documents like the Emancipation Proclamation because he has never even heard of slavery in school.

As an aspiring lawyer, Jarius said hearing about this story from Lord is an eye-opening experience.

Robert Sausedo, president and CEO of Community Build, said that by the time Jarius turns his age, Sausedo wants society’s appreciation for black influence to be much stronger.

Sausedo asked Lord to bring the exhibit to Leimert Park because it is the center of African American culture and arts.

“We want a seat at the table. We don’t want a seat on the menu. And that’s what we’ve been, it’s a seat on the menu, and we’re going to really honor and show our worth,” said Sausedo.

With the passing of Juneteenth as a national holiday, Lord weighed in on what was to come.

“Making it a national holiday in itself is monumental, but will there be any programs? Will there be content?

The exhibition is located outdoors along Boulevard Degnan and 43rd Street in Leimert Park. It is open and free every day until the end of July.