By OBSERVER Newsroom

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The California Museum presents the “Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West,” a timeline of original pictorial quilts exploring the path of Black history in the West, June 10 through Saturday, Oct. 1, 

The exhibit dispels the myth that Black people in the old West were mostly cowboys, showing the rich diversity in African Americans’ occupations and achievements in society, religion, education and the arts from 1528 through the Civil Rights Movement.

Organized by the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art and curator, historian and artist Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, “Black Pioneers” features 50 quilts created for this exhibit by the Women of Color Quilters Network.

“Quilts and quilt making are important to America and Black culture in particular because the art form was historically one of the few mediums accessible to marginalized groups to tell their own story, to provide warmth for their families and to empower them with a voice through cloth,” said Dr. Mazloomi.

Quilts were chosen as the exhibit’s visual medium because they highlight the intersection of African Americans in the western frontier with the art form’s important role in African American history. For African American women, quilts always have been at the core of artistic expression, taking form in their social, economic and spiritual lives.

“We are honored to host ‘Black Pioneers’ at the California Museum,” said Executive Director Amanda Meeker. “The quilts themselves are works of art, with elaborate materials and intricate details. The artistic and narrative elements of the quilts come together to create a powerful visual history lesson that we hope will leave visitors with an expanded view of Black history and American history.”

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