February 21,2023: At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, before a minor electrical outage caused by unprecedented heavy winds, the African-American Historical & Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley was honored for their 30th year anniversary.
The African-American Historical & Cultural Museum is “dedicated to expanding” visitors’ knowledge, offering public tours along with their exclusive collection of African-American history not only from Clovis and Fresno but of the entire San Joaquin Valley.
The museum houses hundreds of historical photographs, artifacts and memorabilia that can be dated back to the 1880’s.
These exhibits portray African-Americans who have excelled in government, politics, art, education, religion, health, business, law, medicine, sports, agriculture, and the work of local African-American artists.
At the City Council meeting, a proclamation was read to members of the African-American Historical and Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley by Mayor Pro-Tem Vong Mouanoutoua.
“The African American Historical and Cultural Museum has spent the past 30 years documenting the excellence of black men, women, and children who are leaders in all aspects of life including government, art, medicine, law, education and so many more industries challenging the stereotypes of what it means to be African American in the United States….Whereas the City of Clovis is proud to celebrate black history today, and every day, in support of black led organizations and leaders whom we thank for their countless contributions to our neighborhoods, cities and nation.”
Executive Director of the African American Museum, NeFesha Ruth Yisra’el, thanked the City Council for the recognition and said, “It’s a pleasure to be here, thank you for the recognition for the work that was started over 30 years ago by Jack and Rosa Kelly and the founding board members for seeing a need to acknowledge the work that was done and the contributions of African American life here in the Valley.”
Ruth Yisra’el referenced “racial friction that has happened in the history of Fresno and Clovis.”
She went on to say, “I think it’s important that we acknowledge that when we grapple with our history that we begin to speak on it and also talk about how can we repair, how can we build these relationships?”
The idea was then echoed on how to build cultural institutions like the African American Museum that can be “within our reach”.
Mayor Lynne Ashbeck spoke to the group and said that the work the African American Historical and Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley does is appreciated and “is an important story to tell”.
“It’s good to see a next generation of leaders kind of breathing life back into that work because I know the folks that started it [had] a long, long struggle and journey for those folks.”
The African-American Historical & Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley is currently open for tour booking only and is located at 1857 Fulton Street in Fresno.