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Omai Fa’atasi–meaning “come together” and “unite”–was the name of a Samoan community group based in Southern California. As of the 2010 census, nearly 30,000 of the 184,440 Samoans in the USA live in Southern California, making it one of the largest Samoan communities in the United States.  In 1978, VC released OMAI FA’ATASI: SAMOA MO SAMOA, a film depicting Samoan Americans living in the Carson/Long Beach area. We recently pinned a new Historypin collection showcasing the photos taken during the shoot of the film. Here’s a small selection of those photos:

Two Samoan girls

Two Samoan girls

Father with daughters

Father with daughters

Fire dance

Fire dance performance

Woman preparing food

Woman preparing food

For more photos, check out the Omai Fa’atasi Historypin collection!

 

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A small selection of VC’s audiovisual materials are now digitized and up on the web!  Last November, VC joined the California Audiovisual Preservation Project as a partner institution to work towards the goal of digitizing and preserving California-based historical recordings. We’re extremely honored to be a part of this Project, and look forward to sharing our materials online!

To participate in the project, VC went had to go through several steps. It wasn’t an automatic process– all materials had to be nominated, and then accepted for inclusion and digitization.  The first step was for us to identify and prioritize materials appropriate for the project.  Because CAVPP’s California Light and Sound project is rooted in California-based subjects and events, we had to choose materials that were California-specific. Although we have certain moving image materials that are worthy of digitization, they didn’t meet the California subject requirement.  Another important factor was to nominate materials that we couldn’t digitize in-house. While we have digitization capabilities for a number of formats, we didn’t have an easy way to digitize 16mm film and 1/8″ audiocassette tapes.  With the resources of the CAVPP, that wasn’t a problem.  We ended up choosing a total of five selections, comprised of multiple tapes/reels, and started the nomination process through the Internet Archive site, which hosts all the CAVPP materials.  The nomination process included entering metadata (data about data), both descriptive (subjects, topics, dates, interviewer, etc.) and technical (format, sound, etc.) The more metadata included, the better! The more information available lends to a better contextual understanding of the materials.

After the nomination process, we were notified which materials were accepted into the program (spoiler alert: all of them!). Five of VC’s AV materials is now part of the California Light and Sound Collection and hosted on the Internet Archive, available online to anyone! Check out the listings below, and follow the links to the videos and audio!

Little Tokyo 1930s Home Movie (1934)

Description: Home movie of pre-World War II Los Angeles, including the Little Tokyo neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Harbor. Footage documents Downtown Los Angeles night traffic, the annual Nisei Week Parade in Little Tokyo, ships at the harbor, and construction. This internegative was obtained through a restoration process performed on the original 1930s 16mm film.

1930s Little Tokyo Nisei Week Parade

1930s Little Tokyo Nisei Week Parade

Military Intelligence Service Oral Histories (March 11, 1989)

Additional Title:: Saga of the MIS
Description: These oral histories are recordings of a panel featuring Japanese American World War II veterans who served in the Military Intelligence Service, the army’s unit of Japanese Americans that provided translation and interrogation services. Speakers talk about their experiences that range from family life, Pearl Harbor, being incarcerated in the internment camps, joining the military, training for the Military Intelligence Service, and serving in combat in the South Pacific.  Nearly all of these MIS panelists were born and raised in California.

Susan Ahn Cuddy Oral Histories (1996)

Description: This footage is an oral history of Susan Ahn Cuddy, who was born in Los Angeles and the first Korean American woman in the U.S. Navy. he is the daughter of Dosan Chang Ho Ahn and Helen Ahn, prominent Korean independence activists.  Cuddy and her family were one of the first Korean families in Los Angeles.  Cuddy joined the navy in 1942 and went on to become a lieutenant.  She later worked at the Office of Naval Intelligence, the National Security Agency, and the Library of Congress.  She attended UC Irvine.

Susan Ahn Cuddy

Susan Ahn Cuddy

Colonel Young Oak Kim Oral History (February 4, 1986)

Description: This oral history is of Colonel Young Oak Kim, a highly decorated World War II veteran. He was born in Los Angeles and grew up in the Bunker Hill area of Downtown. He and his family were one of the first Korean families in Los Angeles. During WWII, he fought with the 100th Infantry Battalion, a segregated unit of Japanese Americans from Hawaii. He was the only non-Japanese American. He later rejoined the army to fight in the Korean War.  Kim was the Asian American to command a regular U.S. combat battalion. He was active with community work and helped establish Go For Broke and the Japanese American National Museum, and served as a board member for Visual Communications.

Filipino American Home Movies (1950s)

Description: These 16mm reels from the 1950s are Kodachrome home movies of a Filipino American family in California and Hawai’i. Footage was taken by George Cayetano. Footage includes arrival of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, Former President and First Lady of the Philippines, at Hickam Field in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Footage also covers the Filipino-American farming community in Delano, California, documenting farming life, community festivals and parades, family life, and social gatherings like a Filipino Debut, a coming-of-age ceremony.

Chinatown: Portrait of a Working Community 

Description: 1977 film about the changing landscape of San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Produced during a volatile period in which community re-development initiatives in most U.S. urban centers threatened the unique community fabric of various ethnic communities, CHINATOWN: PORTRAIT OF A WORKING COMMUNITY juxtaposes the vivacity of the people, businesses and community institutions of one of California’s first and arguably, largest Chinatowns against the violent closure, in August 1977, of the International Hotel, a low-income hotel abutting Chinatown along Kearny and Jackson Streets. Filmed footage of the evictions, a watershed moment in the Asian American progressive movement, was later repurposed by its photographer Curtis Choy for his own landmark 1983 documentary of the incident, THE FALL OF THE I-HOTEL.

Chinatown: Portrait of a Working Community

Chinatown: Portrait of a Working Community

The CAVPP project was made possible with grants from the institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment of the Humanities, and the California State Library.  Thanks so much for helping small institutions like VC make our materials accessible and discoverable to the public!

If you’ve been to Grand Central Market, you’ve been to an interesting, and historic, LA landmark.  Located in Downtown’s Historic Core district, the Market is LA’s first open air market, housed in the first concrete and reinforced structure in LA.  When you visit, it sometimes can feel like you’re traveling through time– the Market has a distinct character that’s very much its own. Inside you can find a variety of foods that makes it hard to choose what to order for lunch– tacos, Chinese, sandwiches, etc. That variety is what makes the market so fun– in fact, we take our interns there on special field trips– we all choose whatever food we want, and then we walk across the street to Angels Flight and ride the trolley up to California Plaza.

We just pinned a Historypin collection of photos of Grand Central Market from the 1970s.  Here’s a preview:

AA000423

Hope you check out the rest on the Historypin page!

In 1972, anti-Vietnam war demonstrations were sweeping the nation.  Here in Los Angeles, an Asian American contingent joined a large anti-war demonstration that took place on Wilshire Boulevard, culminating in a gathering at MacArthur Park.

Anti-Nixon ProtestSigns Anti-Imperialist

To see more photos of this April 22, 1972 demonstration, check out our Historypin collection here.

Back in July, we wrote a blog post featuring some photo highlights from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, specifically, the table tennis matches between U.S. and China.

Until we recently came to a realization that table tennis wasn’t an Olympic Sport until 1988… hmmm?  (This is just another case, out of many, of why metadata, or data about data, is so important.  So write down those captions!)  So what were those photos?  When?  Where?

When one is faced with a question these days, we head to the same place everyone else does—Google.  Upon googling “Ping Pong China US,” we came across the first result—a Wikipedia article about Ping Pong Diplomacy, the table tennis games between the American and Chinese teams that surprisingly helped ease diplomatic relations between the two countries.  After more reading, and more googling, it seemed that these photos had to be related to Ping Pong Diplomacy.  According to one youtube video, the Chinese team had played in Los Angeles in April 1972.

But we couldn’t be sure.  Even on the internet, photos of the events were scarce and it was hard to tell if our photos matched the small, unclear ones online.  What we could tell, however, was that the Chinese uniforms were the same in our photos and on the internet.

The photo from the VC archives

The photo from the VC archives

See the similar medallion on the sweatshirt?  Still, hard to confirm… or perhaps, all Chinese uniforms look alike?  Need confirmation.

A 23-year old Connie Sweeris (above, right) and her fellow teammates Olga Soltesez (above, left) and Judy Hoarfrost (below, center) pose with members of the Chinese table tennis team in April, 1971.Courtesy of Connie Sweeris.  (From Smithsonianmag.com)

A 23-year old Connie Sweeris (above, right) and her fellow teammates Olga Soltesez (above, left) and Judy Hoarfrost (below, center) pose with members of the Chinese table tennis team in April, 1971.
Courtesy of Connie Sweeris. (From Smithsonianmag.com)

To confirm, we wrote to Tim Boggan, historian, past president, and former team member of USA Table Tennis (USATT.)  He is the author of 12 volumes about the USATT, so we felt positive about his authority.

While we waited for a response, we tried to guess the location.  No such luck.  Then a friend noticed a tiny banner in the back of the stadium that went unnoticed by our eyes.  Looking closer (lots of zooming), we could make out “??? 1971 National Basketball Champions.”

See that banner behind the American flag?  No?  Yeah, it's tiny.

See the writing on the banner behind the American flag? No? Yeah, it’s tiny.

Perhaps Bruins would have figured it quickly, but not us.  Again, Google helped.   It was UCLA!  Shortly thereafter, Mr. Boggan confirmed that the photos were, indeed, taken in April 1972.

A very happy ending to yet another archival mystery!  Check out our Ping Pong DIplomacy collection on our Historypin channel for just a small sample of the photos from the matches.

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