African American Military Exhibit debuts at Expo Center

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA- The African American Military Experience at the Long Beach Expo Center is a free exhibit that focuses on the hardships and triumphs that Black Military personnel have faced throughout history.

The exhibition, titled Forgotten Images, examines the lives of African-American troops in the military through a series of displays that will run for six months, emphasizing various facets of African-American culture around the United States, including, most notably, Long Beach.

Sharon Diggs-Jackson, one of the exhibition’s board members, spoke with us about the museum’s aims and the goals they intend to achieve while the exhibit is up.

“The vision for this exhibit is to educate, honor, and excite…We want to educate people about our military history and the role of African American soldiers who served,” said Diggs-Jackson.

Sharon Mclucas, co-owner of Forgotten Images, spoke about how the exhibition would teach future generations about the issues that African Americans have faced and continue to endure.

“People today won’t know the trial and tribulations that went on in the military or have even occurred in our everyday life…We want to teach kids today that’s it’s about progression, not regression, and seeing all these (artifacts) up close can help people today learn from history’s past mistakes,” said Mclucas.

After examining some of the treasures and artifacts neatly displayed on tables or mounted on walls; many of which are in near-perfect condition, Mclucas expressed the authenticity of the artifacts.

“My husband and I left in a jeep and came home with a trailer… we started the collection with salt and pepper shakers and it’s just evolved to what it is today. All artifacts you see here are real and hold history in their palm,” she pointed to various photographs and news articles, most with little to no age. 

Throughout the next six months, the installation will focus on African Americans and minorities in military history:

  • December 2021: US Military History and African American Generals 
  • January 2022: Military Heros and Medical Corp 
  • February 2022: LB Military Service and Heroes of the Sea 
  • March 2022: Women’s History Month 
  • April 2022: Long Beach Takes Flight 
  • May 2022; Salute to ALL Long Beach Veterans 

Additional details on the exhibit can be found at here.

By Sofia Youngs