Jessie Mae Robinson

Artistry in Motion

Artistry in Motion seminars held by the BHERC are targeted toward students with strong interests in art, computer graphics, and animation. Artistry in Motion seminars cover methods of developing animation storyboards and the production of current animated commercials, television shows, and film and music videos.

These seminars are designed to introduce middle and high school students to the magical world of animation and the diverse opportunities behind the scenes in animation.


Fight Back with Film

Coming Soon

Port Chicago Commemoration


The “Court-martial proceedings were one of the worst frame-ups we have come across.”
Thurgood Marshall – NAACP Counsel

“It has been a major struggle for many of the men to talk about Port Chicago and the day of July 17, 1944.”
Sandra Evers-Manly – President, Black Hollywood Education & Resource Center


port-chicagoIn 1944 when America was at war, the majority of the seamen assigned to load munitions onto Liberty ships in this country were black. For the black Navy recruits, it was their dream to serve this country as sailors and be trained to go to sea. That did not happen. Instead, some of the men feared for their lives on their own home land because of racial prejudice. With dreams deferred and the prevailing discriminatory attitudes of the Navy during that time, the black seamen were assigned to do either menial labor or dangerous work such as loading ammunition without proper training at port Chicago Naval Weapon Station.

On July 17, 1944 at 10:18 pm, two explosions, with a force equal to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, nearly leveled the Port Chicago area. Two military cargo ships loaded with ammunition and the entire Port Chicago waterfront (located in the East Bay area outside of San Francisco) vanished. Three hundred and twenty men died from the blast, 202 of them – black men. Hundreds of others were physically and emotionally injured for life. The cause of the blast was never determined. After spending several weeks picking up the remains of their fellow seamen, the surviving black sailors were ordered to return to work on August 9, 1944 to load ammunition at a nearby base (Mare Island) under the same unsafe working conditions that existed previously. Fearful that another blast might happen, 258 of the black seamen refused to go back to work and were consequently imprisoned on a barge. Several days later, after being threatened with the death penalty, 208 of the black seamen agreed to return to work. The remaining 50 were charged with mutiny, an act punishable by death.

NAACP counsel Thurgood Marshall, who represented the men, stated that the “Court-martial proceedings were one of the worst frame-ups we have come across.”

There have been several courageous efforts by Congressmen Pete Stark, Ron Dellums and George Miller of Northern California, along with others, to have the Navy overturn the convictions based on new evidence that demonstrates racial prejudice played a major factor in the trial proceedings. On January 7, 1994, the Navy refused to overturn the convictions following a review mandated by legislation approved by Congress.

Port Chicago is one of America’s darkest and long forgotten secrets. The black sailors who served their country under horrific conditions deserve recognition for their journey in the segregated Navy.

Tuskegee Airmen

Tuskegee Airmen Fighter Pilots Commemoration

tuskegee-airmanA “60th Anniversary of the First Tuskegee Airmen Fighter Pilots Commemoration” will be held by the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center, in association with the Los Angeles Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc., to recognize the first Tuskegee Airmen Fighter Pilots and honor some of the surviving members of the 99th Fighter Squadron–the trailblazing Tuskegee Airmen. The first five Tuskegee Airmen were awarded their wings on March 6, 1942, after training at Tuskegee Army Airfield on the campus of Tuskegee Institute, in Alabama.

Honorees include: William Campbell, Charles R. Dryden, Herbert E. Carter, William R. Thompson, Spann Watson, John W. Rogers, Elmer D. Jones, Bernard S. Proctor, Roger “Bill” Terry, and Hiram Little, Sr.

The “60th Anniversary Commemoration of the First Tuskegee Airmen Fighter Pilots” is also intended to remove the veil of invisibility that has kept the heroic accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen from the pages of popular history. These black fighter pilots, in the face of racism, became known and feared by the Germans as “Schwartze Vogelmenschen” (Black Birdmen) and as the “Fighting Red Tail Angels” to the American bomber crews they protected, and racked up an impressive combat record in the skies over Europe and North Africa. Flying more than 200 missions as fighter escort on long-range bombing raids, the Tuskegee Airmen never lost a bomber to enemy fighters. They flew more than 15,000 combat sorties in 1,5000 missions and destroyed more than 600 enemy aircraft. Of the 992 black aviators trained at Tuskegee Army Airfield, 66 were killed in combat and 32 were taken as prisoners in Germany.

Founded in 1996, the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center is a nonprofit, public benefit organization designed to advocate, educate, research, develop, and preserve the history and future of Blacks in film and television.

For more detailed information call (323) 957-4747; write BHERC at 1875 Century Park
East, Suite 600, Los Angeles, CA


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