The exhibition, “Alternate Takes: Community, Underground and Alternative Newspapers, Zines, & Comix at the CSUDH Gerth Archives & Special Collections,” is now open in the Library Cultural Arts Gallery through May 2024. Located on the first floor of the University Library (LIB1940), this exhibition is focused on alternative and community newspapers and publications, and the history told and preserved within their pages. Through these periodicals, the Gerth Archives aims to showcase how communities in Los Angeles and across the world documented their lived experiences through an array of publications, ranging from newspapers to comics, zines, and more. An opening reception will be held on October 5, 2023, from 4pm to 7pm.
“This exhibition reflects the vast diversity of the Gerth Archives collections relating to the political and cultural landscape that is often ignored or forgotten in the mainstream press,” according to Greg Williams, Director of the Gerth Archives and Special Collections Department in the CSUDH Library. “Through the display of politically radical and cultural expressive publications, this exhibition presents a snapshot of how often powerless populations reached out to express themselves and eventually gain power.”
Exhibition materials have been selected from several collections across the Gerth Archives. This includes the Art Kunkin / Los Angeles Free Press Collection, the Holt Labor Library Collection, and the LGBTQ+ Collection. Material on display also comes from the Feminist Resource Collection, the Zines Collection, the Kaye Briegel Chicano Publications Collection, the Right Wing and Conservative Publications Collection, and the Black Panther Newspaper Collection. Further material on display comes from collections focused on Japanese Americans, Filipino Americans, and Native Americans as well as CSUDH campus periodicals.
Sections highlight a variety of interesting periodicals and publications along with the vast scope of coverage in from their collections. This includes highlights of the Black Panther Newspaper, and its evolution over the years through the artwork of Emory Douglas, the paper’s designer and illustrator; issues from the Los Angeles Free Press highlighting its in ushering in the underground press revolution in the Southern California area; a variety of colorful graphic from underground newspapers of the 1960s and 1970s from Los Angeles all the way to West Germany and Hong Kong covering topics ranging from the Vietnam War to New Age beliefs; Japanese American newspapers from incarceration camps during World War II; and socialist publications from across the 20th century.
Additional exhibition materials are located in the Gerth Archives Reading Room on the 5th Floor of the Library, Room 5039.
In the years during the pandemic, the Gerth Archives collections relating to alternative periodicals change have grown exponentially. The collection growth is the result of the conviction that archival collections should reflect social and community movements that reflect the values and the diverse populations of those communities. Such collections also veer away from mainstream thought and give students the opportunity to analyze alternative views. This growth has led to the acquisition of the Holt Labor Library Collection, the Art Kunkin / Los Angeles Free Press Collection, the LGBTQ Publications Collections, the Black Panther Newspaper Collection, the John Weatherwax Collection, the Chicano Publications Collection, the Ligon Aquarian Bookstore Collection, the CSU Japanese American Digitization Project, the Filipino American Digital Archive, and many other activist collections.
The exhibition is in the Library Arts Center, University Library Room 1940. Monday-Friday 10-4. Call 310-243-3895 for more information. The room also serves as the Faculty Development Center and is located next to the large globe sculpture outside the library. Guide tours are available for classes and other groups. Students and the public are welcome to tour the exhibition on their own. The exhibition will remain open through Spring 2023.
This exhibition was curated by Lindsay Anderson, Priscilla Avitia, Noel Lopez, Lucas Madrigal, Yoko Okunishi, Tom Philo, Deena Marie Santos, Shawne West, and Greg Williams. The Gerth Archives has over 500 collections of archival materials and 85,000 digital objects on a variety of subjects related to activism local history and CSUDH and CSU history.