Pasadena Time Travel

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Little Theater, Pasadena High School (March,1969 Walkout)

Pasadena students organized for social and educational justice in the late 1960s and 1970s. In this image from 1969, African American students from Pasadena High School walked out of school to protest discrimination in the selection of Song Girl cheerleaders. They were joined by students from other high schools in a city-wide student boycott lasting several days. Many students in Pasadena were deeply influenced by the growing movement against the Vietnam War, by the Civil Rights movement and by the teachings and activism of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“There was a walkout when Martin Luther King was assassinated. People were in class and the teachers weren’t dealing with it, they were just teaching as usual. And then kids started getting up to leave. It was a march that included John Muir and Blair High School. I left school that day. I didn’t stay. I just remember folks were walking out and I got up and left.

Some of us went to the park area. I didn’t stay at the park. I ended up going home. Because for me, I was in grief. I understood the significance of what he was trying to do, and I also understood the power of love. I kept thinking, Is this the way people confront love? With murder and violence?”

-Starla Lewis, Professor Emeritus, Black Studies, San Diego Mesa College, John Muir High School Class of 1968

©2018 Deborah Aschheim. This project is made possible in part by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division. Courtesy Pasadena High School [1969 Yearbook]; Starla Lewis.