Library Spotlights State Civil Rights Exhibit

The Humboldt State University Library will host the bilingual traveling exhibit Wherever There’s a Fight, a history of the civil rights movements in California, from Sunday, Sept. 23 through Tuesday, Nov. 18.

The exhibit is based on the award-winning 2009 book Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California, by Elaine Elinson and Stan Yogi.

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Spanning the period from the Gold Rush to post-9/11, the exhibit and the book recount the civil liberty struggles of workers, the disabled, Chinese immigrants, the interned Japanese Americans of World War II and other peoples of color. The exhibit also documents the fights of minorities to overcome bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, political witch hunts and the denial of education and religious liberties.

Elinson, a San Francisco-based communications consultant for legal and social justice organizations, is former editor of the ACLU News. She teaches classes in media advocacy at major Bay Area law schools and is a book reviewer and columnist on legal history for the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

Yogi has managed ACLU development programs for northern California since 1997. He is the co-editor of two books: Highway 99: A Literary Journey through California’s Great Central Valley and Asian American Literature: An Annotated Bibliography.

The San Francisco Chronicle said Wherever There’s a Fight should be “required reading in our state’s underfunded and largely segregated schools.” The book, illustrated with 90 historical images, won the Gold Medal in the 2010 California Book Awards.

To make California civil rights history as accessible as possible, Cal Humanities has partnered with Exhibit Envoy to sponsor the companion exhibition in both English and Spanish. It is touring libraries, colleges, and museums across the state.

At HSU, both the book and the exhibit are being taught in several classes and Humboldt County Schools plans to use them during Teaching American History weekend this fall.

Authors Elinson and Yogi will be the featured speakers on Friday, Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. during Humboldt State’s 15th Annual Campus Dialogue on Race. They will speak in the Kate Buchanan Room at University Center, second floor.

The HSU Office of Diversity and Inclusion provided the grant for the traveling exhibit and the Campus Dialogue on Race supports the authors’ visit.